At Friday 02/02/2001 , Terry Wohlers wrote:
>I've been using the following to briefly define/describe RP:
>Rapid prototyping (RP) is a relatively new class of technology used for
>building physical models and prototype parts from 3D computer-aided design
>(CAD) data. Unlike CNC machines tools, which are subtractive in nature, RP
>systems join together liquid, powder and sheet materials to form complex
>parts. Layer by layer, RP machines fabricate plastic, wood, ceramic, and
>metal objects based on thin horizontal cross sections taken from a computer
When posting this message you must have realized that your statement
is in fact screaming for comments. A few comments on your exclusion
of CNC have already been sent, and I do want to add mine.
In my opinion the definition of RP should be based on the users point of
view, on the applications served, on the end-result. It should not be based
on the technology used, as from a user point of view is it absolutely
uninteresting which technology is applied inside the black box called RP
Your definition is RP is even more restricted as it also excludes full 3D
additive technologies like the one BPM has been working on in the past.
It is (do forgive my example) like defining a locomotive (train) as a machine
that pulls a train by boiling water with coal and using the steam for
For a definition I do fully agree with the one that was posted by Elaine
at the start of this thread.
Of course I do understand the resulting problem that in that case RP is
no longer a small and clear research area, with only a limited number
of players in the field. (in contrast to the thousands of CNC-related
suppliers worldwide. Limitation might indeed be needed here, however
then a definition including the word 'additive' is more appropriate.
Sorry for the strong wording, however as our prime activity is
"RP using CNC" I just had to respond.
Delft Spline Systems, The Netherlands.
We offer DeskProto: affordable Rapid Prototyping using CNC milling
Mailto:email@example.com Website: http://www.deskproto.com
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://ltk.hut.fi/rp-ml/
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