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Rapid Technologies Introduction

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Rapid manufacturing/rapid technologies/rapid prototyping are general terms describing a variety of methods used to directly construct three-dimensional models and end-use products from electronic data. The systems use CAD data to build fabrications layer by layer in very thin cross-sections. Below are some additional additive manufacturing terms and definitions.
 
Stereolithography  
Stereolithography builds models in layers within a reservoir of liquid, thermosetting, epoxy-based, photosensitive polymer.
 
Laser Sintering
Laser sintering uses powdered materials (polymer, metal and so on) to fabricate parts layer by layer. A powerful carbon-dioxide laser sinters (fuses) the layers of material together.
 
Fused Deposition Modeling

The fused deposition modeling process feeds a thermoplastic filament through a heated extrusion. The material is deposited in the form of a fine bead, which is flattened by the next bead layer.
 
3-D Printer—Z810 Modeler

The Z810 3-D printer uses one of two materials to create models. The first material combines starch and cellulose, while the second is plaster based. Either material can be infiltrated with wax or resins to enhance the model's mechanical properties. 
 
Direct Metal Manufacturing

Direct metal technology is used to build metal parts and tooling. This rapid manufacturing method is considered complementary to machining, molding, casting and forming processes in many industrial applications.