Re: Making Model parts through Rapid Prototyping

Charlie Vlk


Yes.... but there are no "printing" processes that I have seen that are adequate for Rapid Prototyping of any parts
for us......
I hesitate to list all the processes that could be considered as the technology is changing rapidly (pun intended)...
The ones I am familiar with that give good results are:

"Prefactory" light hardened acrylic plastic
and the following from Wikopedia:
Prototyping Technologies Base Materials
Selective laser sintering (SLS) Thermoplastics, metals powders
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Thermoplastics, Eutectic metals.
Stereolithography (SLA) photopolymer
Multi Jet Modeling (MJM) photopolymer
Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) Paper
Electron Beam Melting (EBM) Titanium alloys
3D Printing (3DP) Various materials
Objet PolyJet Modeling photopolymer

Prefactory gives superior results to anything I've seen. We've used PolyJet which is slightly lower
resolution than the Prefactory. It gives a similar finished part but the process involves a support
medium which must be flushed/scraped away from the finished part and the boundary between
the part and the support medium is not always sharp. It does give good enough results to cast
a GE44T body in N Scale that has detail down to the Flapper on the Exhaust Stacks. The Prefactory
process will yield Hex Nuts on the same part if they are there on the 3D drawing!

SLA and LOM have been used for model products but I don't think they give results that are close to
the two processes we've used so far. Again, the technology is changing and your results may vary.

The "printing" processes (sort of 3D inkjet printers) were not near to the resolution we require but they
may be the home units of the future for our use...

Charlie Vlk

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