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Additive Fabrication News! Latest Headlines...
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SERVICES & EQUIPMENT
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TUTORIALS
   BUTN BRIEF Rapid Prototyping Tutorial
   BUTN DETAILED RP Tutorial
   BUTN RP Terminology Unraveled
   BUTN Rapid Prototyping FAQ's !
   BUTN Patents for Business Strategy
   BUTN What is a 3D Printer?
   BUTN Low-cost 3D Printers Explained
   BUTN Additive Manufacturing Tutorial
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Hot Patents! Rapid prototyping
is the name given to a host of related technologies that are used to fabricate physical objects directly from CAD data sources. These methods are unique in that they add and bond materials in layers to form objects. Such systems are also known by the names additive manufacturing, additive fabrication, three dimensional printing, solid freeform fabrication and layered manufacturing. They offer advantages in many, but not all, applications compared to classical subtractive fabrication methods such as milling or turning:

BUTN Objects can be formed with any geometric complexity or intricacy without the need for elaborate machine setup or final assembly;

BUTN Objects can be made from multiple materials, or as composites, or materials can even be varied in a controlled fashion at any location in an object;

BUTN Additive technologies reduce the construction of complex objects to a manageable, straightforward, and relatively fast process.

The Additive Fabrication Spy

These properties have resulted in their wide use as a way to reduce time to market in manufacturing. Today's systems are heavily used by engineers to better understand and communicate their product designs as well as to make rapid tooling to manufacture those products. Surgeons, architects, artists and individuals from many other disciplines also routinely use the technology.

The names of specific processes themselves are also often used as synonyms for the entire field of rapid prototyping. Among these are stereolithography (SLA for stereolithography apparatus), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), inkjet-based systems and three dimensional printing (3DP). Each of these technologies - and the many other additive processes - has its singular strengths and weaknesses.

From here...

BUTN Brief RP Tutorial! Here's where to instantly become familiar with the most important technologies - and where to learn even more.

BUTN RP Terminology Unraveled. The terminology that is used to describe the many technologies and applications of additive fabrication is extremely confusing. This section provide a roadmap to show you the relationships.

BUTN 3D Printers. Just what is the difference between a 3D printer and a rapid prototyping machine? You can find out in this brief tutorial.

BUTN 3D Printer Choices Below US$20,000. This section tells you what what's available, what it costs, and how it performs. It even provides a table comparing all the available choices in detail.

BUTN Low-cost and Open-source 3D Printers Explained. What are the trade-offs in 3D printers selling for less than US$20,000? How do they compare with more expensive equipment? This section teaches you about the history, the players - and the future - of low-cost 3D printers.

BUTN Low-cost Equipment in Development. There are scores of new companies producing 3D printers, accessories and related equipment. We've singled out the important ones and described their efforts in detail.

BUTN RP's Frequently Asked Questions. Visit this section to find out how - and if - additive technologies can benefit you. Learn about their advantages and limitations, and find the quickest path to a solution for your problem. Compare technologies and see a huge range of examples.

BUTN Main Directory. This web site provides resources to allow you to explore every facet of additive technology. The links in the navigation column to the left are one place to start, and this detailed directory page will take you to every corner of the site.

BUTN Rapid Manufacturing. Learn about the myriad developments going on today in applying additive technologies to the direct fabrication of final parts and products. It's affecting almost every field and every individual today, often in the background and unnoticed. You can be sure it will expand into even more applications tomorrow and become ever more prominent as individuals discover its advantages.

In the distant future, there is no doubt that computers will be used to automatically manufacture objects, products and systems of every description and kind with no limit to complexity. The inputs to these fabrication systems will simply be raw materials and data. This technology will be reminiscent of desktop publishing - but instead of documents and printed matter, the diverse products that we need or desire to use in our lives will be manufactured for us on the spot. We'll also be able to efficiently make complex things in small volumes without tooling, and with material properties that we can only dream about now. This scenario is a long way off, but the very real foundation for that world exists today and you can learn about it here.

 

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mail Let us know if you would like to be updated by email when we add new features to the Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping web-site. Announcements are made about once a month and you will not receive junk email from other sources. You'll also be notified when each new edition of The Additive Fabrication SpyTM appears and be sent a brief summary. Click here and simply write Update Me in the subject line.


mailDo you have a question about additive fabrication? We may already have answered it! See our Mailbag Section for answers to many typical questions - and also some downright unusual ones.

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