Rapid Prototyping Technology Development

Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing (RPM) technology is developing in two directions: one is the direction of direct manufacturing of parts, called rapid manufacturing (RM) technology; the other is combined with life science technology, called bio-manufacturing ( BM) technology. At present, both RM and BM technologies have shown broad development prospects, opening up new application areas for RPM. Recently, with the advancement of new materials technology, new processes and information networking, many new rapid prototyping manufacturing technologies have emerged and applied in various fields, mainly in the fields of rapid mold, nano manufacturing, biomimetic manufacturing and integrated manufacturing.

1. Develop a conceptual model machine or desktop

At present, RP technology is developing in two directions: industrialized large-scale systems for manufacturing high-precision, high-performance parts; automated desktop small systems called conceptual model machines or desktops, mainly used to manufacture conceptual prototypes. Develop small RP devices and are very likely to enter the home. General Motors also plans to equip each engineer with one such device. The concept prototype manufactured by the desktop RP system can be used to display the overall concept of the product design, the layout of the three-dimensional shape, the promotion of the product design, and the use as a product display model and bidding model.

2. Develop new forming energy sources

Rapid prototyping technologies such as SL, LOM, and SLS mostly use lasers as an energy source, and laser systems (including lasers, coolers, power supplies, and external light paths) are expensive and expensive to maintain, resulting in high cost of molded parts, so many RP research centers Development of new forming energy. At present, there are RP systems that use expensive lasers such as semiconductor lasers and ultraviolet lamps to replace expensive lasers. There are also quite a few systems that use a heated forming material to deposit molded parts without using a laser.

3. Develop molding materials with superior performance

Advances in RP technology have relied on the development of new rapid prototyping materials and the development of new equipment. The development of new RP materials, especially composite materials, such as nanomaterials, heterogeneous materials, and other composite materials that are difficult to fabricate by traditional methods, has become a hot spot in the research of RP forming materials. At present, the research focus of foreign RP technology is the research and development and application of RP forming materials. Most of the scientific and technological personnel who conduct RP technology research in many universities in the United States come from materials and chemical engineering.

4. Integration

Biological science, information science, nanoscience, manufacturing science and management science are the five mainstream sciences of the 21st century. The five major technologies and their related industries will change the world. The intersection of manufacturing science and other sciences is its development trend. Bio-manufacturing with RP and biological sciences, remote manufacturing with information science, and micro-electromechanical systems with nanosciences all provide space for RP technology. Rapid reaction integrated manufacturing system consisting of parallel engineering (CE), virtual technology (VT), rapid tooling (RT), reverse engineering (VR), rapid prototyping (RP), network (Internet, intranet) will be The development of RP provides strong technical support.

5. Research new forming methods and processes

On the basis of the existing, expand the application of RP technology and explore new forming technologies. New forming methods emerge in an endless stream, such as three-dimensional microstructure manufacturing, engineering of bioactive structures, laser three-dimensional internal cutting technology, and layer exposure methods. The research on RP micro-manufacturing mainly focuses on the mechanism and method of RP micro-forming, the precision control of RP system, the control of laser spot size and the forming characteristics of materials.

The micro-parts currently produced are only conceptual models and cannot be called functional parts, let alone microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). To achieve MEMS, there are still many problems to be overcome. For example, as the size decreases, the ratio of surface area to volume increases, surface mechanics and surface physical effects will play a leading role; micro-tribology, micro-thermodynamics, micro-system design, Manufacturing, testing, etc.

Arc spray forming is an important metal rapid prototyping technology that has recently been developed. Laser powder rapid prototyping technology, also known as Laser Direct Metal Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (LDMRPM), is one of the most important goals of rapid prototyping technology. It can directly or indirectly manufacture metal with full function. Parts and molds have become an inevitable trend in the development of rapid prototyping technology.

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