Re: RP for Rapid Manufacturing vs. Hybrid approach

From: Nick Osborn (
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 11:42:41 EEST


At the Euromold Pre-Fair Press Conference in Frankfurt recently the head of 3D GmbH gave a presentation which included references to SLA machines being used for rapid manufacturing (RM), which I have a problem taking too seriously at the moment.

Surely the future for RP is to work towards "instant tooling" which is fast and cheap enough to negate many of the problems associated with production tooling today?

In this way, when coupled with mass production processes & techniques (e.g. injection moulding) that have already undergone many decades of development (compared with RP's one decade to date) the result is a hybrid solution which recognises the relative merits of each technology.

I concede that (for instance) an SLA 7000 building trays full of widgets can outstrip conventional injection moulding on cost (initially anyway) - it will be interesting to see your new figures when they are available - but how many widgets have you seen recently that are made from UV resin? Just look at the mechanical performance differences between a prototype part that is machined from solid thermoplastic vs. the same form but moulded condition. OK, so in some circumstances a high grade SLA material may suffice, but I would argue that, even for complex parts, building ONE high res. RP master to make ONE (fast, low cost) rapid tool is a more efficient route.

I would be very interested to work with you to provide proof of the above statements for a range of different part sizes, geometries, etc. Please let me know if you have any interest in this offer.



Nick Osborn
Managing Director
Swift Technologies Ltd.
140 - 144 Station Road, March,
Cambs. PE15 8NH, UK

"Real Parts Real Quick - Because Time Is Money"

Tel: +44 (0) 1354 650 789
Fax: +44 (0) 1354 650 799

>>> "Prof. P. M. Dickens" <> 06/08/99 01:33:18 >>>

We found that
RP cost about 100 times more and injection moulding was about 100 times
faster. ....
However, what we also showed
was that it was economic to make even small simple parts in numbers up to
6,000 before injection moulding became cheaper!

I am 100% convinced that RP will move into direct manufacture of end use
parts with numbers into the thousands.This raises lots of other issues.

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