Re: The History of RP!

From: Michael Rees (
Date: Fri Sep 03 1999 - 19:32:51 EEST

Mr. Tushar R. Mahale wrote:
> One of the first recorded examples on the development of 3D parts by
> stacking 2.5D cross-sections is that by a person called Blanter (1892). He
> made topological maps by tracing the indiviual contour lines (from contour
> maps) onto wax sheets. These sheets were then cut and the cross-section
> stacked manually, one on top of the other, as per the order. The 3D
> objects thus obatined, were then smoothened with wax to minimize the
> "staircase effect" (Perhaps it can also be considered to be the origin of
> 1st order slicing). If I am not mistaken, the paper maps were then pressed
> over these scaled models of the terrain to get what could be called "3D
> maps".
> Hope this helps
> Regards
> Tushar
RP world/ Art and Science

Although I don't have any written or primary historical source
material, there are two very old precedents for rapid prototyping. The
first is coil built pottery. This is the technique where coils or slices
of clay of different shapes are built up one on top of the other, then
smoothed and fired to create a vessel.

The second takes place in the renaissance. Pierro Della Francesca made
drawings that measured the cross sections of heads. These drawings are
at least the conceptualization of reverse engineering although they
didn't call it that. Seeing an object and then replicating it through
slicing and measuring the slices. As fascile as craftsmen were in this
time, its hard not to imagine that some, albeit coarse, stacking of
wooden shapes (or other) into a block which was then further carved took
place. We have been using various additive and subtractive techniques
for a long time now.

In the rush to be first ( a very western thing) we often overlook the
obvious. These technologies have been with us since the beginning of
time. Now, we are referring to refinements, accelerations, and
propriety. In regards to propriety, thank goodness most major inventions
like perspective and the transitor are/were public domain--too big for
any one person or corporation to control. There I go again with my 2


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