Request for some informations

From: Volker Schillen (
Date: Thu Apr 30 1998 - 14:36:56 EEST

Dear RP Community

I am a scientific researcher of the Computer Science Research Center at the
University of Karlsruhe in Germany. I am responsible for two projects: In
the first project (MPL) we develop a new stereolithography system for an
application in microsystem area
( and in the second
project (mShape) we develop a new 3D digitizer for an application in
microsystem area
( In both
projects we work together with industrial partners and my part is to
develop the software systems.

At the moment I write a report about the necessary functionality of a
software system for a rapid prototyping system. But there are some question
which are only can be answered by people with practical experience:

1. A rp-system build a physical object layer by layer. There are at least
two possibilities to estimate these layers:
  a) Slicing with a layer thickness, which is constant
  b) Slicing with a layer thickness, which is variable

Q1.1: Have the different rp-systems the ability to manufacture layer with a
variable layer thickness?

Q1.2: Is manufacturing with a variable layer thickness a general practice
and if not, why!

2. A rp-system tries to manufacture a physical object as accurately as

Q2.1: Which accuracy have the current rp-systems (layer thickness and point
solution; especially the stereolithography systems)

Q2.2: What are the main problems which are responsible for inaccuracy
(especially if you manufacture very small parts or parts with filigree

Q2.3: Are software systems able to estimate the exact volume error between
the original and the sliced object?

Q2.4: Is the volume error important for development/manufacturing of products?

Q2.5: Are support structures necessary if you want to manufacture small
parts (especially if you use stereolithography systems)?

Q3: What are you missing most at your software system?

Q4: Is there anybody who manufacture microparts with stereolithography?

Hm, I think it is enough for today ;) If you have an answer it would give
me great pleasure to get an email...

Thanks for your effort and best regards



Volker Schillen

Information Science Research Center at the University of Karlsruhe

Mobility Management and Robotics Fon: ++49-721-9654-314
Haid-und-Neu-Str. 10-14 Fax: ++49-721-9654-309
D 76131 Karlsruhe (Germany) e-mail:

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