Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Rapid Prototyping Advanced Technology Center RAPID PROTOTYPING AT THE TAC

What is a Prototype?
A prototype is the term for a "first part" (or maybe several parts) produced during the process of designing and developing a product.

What is Rapid Prototyping?
RP is a method of quickly producing a free-form, 3-Dimensional model from a mathematical description, usually a CAD model.

Why is "Rapid" Important?
The faster you can progress from your initial concept for a product to placing that product on the market is one of the most critical factors in gaining market share. Decreasing product development time is one of the major goals of engineering departments.


KVCC can help you with your Rapid Prototyping efforts.
We can supply you with a variety of training, from multi-media coursework to hands-on model building on a StrataSys Model 1600 Fused Deposition Modeling Machine.

What is Fused Deposition Modeling?
FDM is one form of rapid prototyping. In this process, the model is formed by extruding a thin (0.012 inch wide) bead of melted plastic. You can picture it as building a model with a tube of toothpaste, layer by layer. First the outline is "drawn", then the interior is filled up like you were coloring it in with a crayon. By building up many 0.010 inch thick layers, one on top of the other, the 3-D model is formed from bottom to top.


Possible Uses for FDM Rapid Prototype Models:

What Modeling Materials Can Be Used?

Size of Models
The "Working Envelope" of this machine is 10.0 (X) x 10.0 (Y) x 9.4 (Z) inches. Models larger than this can be made in sections and glued together.

Tolerances Held
Machine specifications state that this process is capable of holding tolerances of +/- 0.006 inch. The actual results depend on the forming conditions, process parameters and part geometry. You should "benchmark" a typical part for your application.

If you understand the importance of shortening the product development time and you would like to learn more about how Rapid Prototyping can help,