Re: RP definition

Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 19:31:29 EET


I like what you are saying but, just to be troublesome:

Suppose a device was introduced that cured a part, all at once, from

Suppose a device was introduced that extruded a blob through a die whose
shape changed with time?

These are definitely not layered manufacturing. Are they rapid prototyping?



>Dear all
>I see that the main source of confusion is between what is the definition
>of 'rapid prototyping' and the definition of a 'rapid prototyping machine'.
>In my mind, they are 2 different things.
>Rapid prototyping is a means to and end. It is how we get from an original
>concept to a final model. There is in fact no need to bring technology into
>it at all. Why should we start with a computer-generated model? It is the
>best approach in many cases, but some sculptors for example may see it as
>an impediment; a barrier in the way of realising their ideas. In that case
>they may see a more direct, manual route. RP therefore becomes a
>philosophy, an ideal. In that sense, it can be (and is) applied to software
>development, PCB construction, even manufacturing plant design.
>Rapid prototyping machines are however just that: machines. They are a
>technology that uses layer-based fabrication methods to construct models
>directly from solid-modelling CAD data without the need for customised
>set-ups (at least in theory) or specialised tooling and fixtures. In that
>way, they can be distinguished from CNC, EDM, etc. Also there is no problem
>with using FFF machines or LM machines as alternative definitions. Except
>RP machine is just as good, was first on the block and is the most popular.
>Autofab is a superset, that includes RP machinery as well as CNC machining,
>robotic machining, etc. and I see no problems with that either.
>So in summary, you can use RP machinery, CNC machines, or even a hammer and
>chisel to achieve rapid prototyping, so long as you are using the quickest
>method available to achieve your objective. With Autofab, you must be using
>an automated method. If you are using RP machinery, you are using a
>layer-based technology.
>So Lex is developing Autofab technology, which can be used for RP, but
>which is not an RP machine.
>Dr. Ian Gibson
>Associate Professor
>Dept. Mechanical Engineering
>The University of Hong Kong
>tel: +852 28597901
>fax: +852 28585415
>It's tragic magic.
>There are no coincidences,
>but sometimes the pattern is more obvious.
>For more information about the rp-ml, see

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

For more information about the rp-ml, see

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