Re: Request

Date: Mon Feb 22 1999 - 17:54:13 EET

>Charles, You wrote back to Elaine: "We are in the process of ordering a
>second JP System 5 for undergraduate use (around $11,000)."
>I haven't heard of the "JP System". Where can I (we) learn about it?
>Tom Richards, Metallurgist


JPSystem 5 is a desk top rapid prototyping system that was developed and
patented at the University of Utah (that's why I'm a little biased).

It is available from Schroff Development Corp. (

JP5 is an inexpensive (roughly $6,000-$12,000 US), partially manual
prototyping system that sems to be mostly of interest to schools.

JP5 uses a custom software and a standard vinyl cutting plotter to produce
parts from layers of label paper. The process is partially manual, in that
the students must put the layers together by hand.

It's actually not as hard as that sounds. They use a registration board,
and the part is automatically decomposed into a series of subparts which
are built in parallel. I saw a 4" tall part built that required 800
layers. The part was built from 40 sheets of paper (about $20) and
required only 60 manual stacking operations.

Like all systems, JP5 is better for some geometries and not as competitive
for others:

A group of students build a 4" by 5" by 2" model of a bicycle fairing
(complex shape but no thin walls or internal geomerty.) They used both JP5
and FDM. The JP5 part was built in 2 hrs. The FDM part required 18 hrs.
The FDM part was a little prettier.

A student built a small toy cup (1" by 1" by 2" with 1/16" walls). It took
4 hours and the finished product was quite warped.

JP5 is used by an increasing number of schools because it is cheap, very
low maintenance (We buy a new cutter blade ($15) every 30-50 parts), the
parts are very inexpensive ($1 for a car key size object), and at the same
time it is a good demonstration of the principles of rapid prototyping.

JP5 has not seen as much use in industry: The low cost of parts goes up
when you have to pay your labor!! The accuracy is limited by the skill of
the operator.



Charles L. Thomas
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Utah
50 South Central Campus Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
FAX (801) 585-9826

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