RE: Rapid Prototyping Gets Faster And Cheaper

From: Chris Sutcliffe (
Date: Sat Dec 13 2003 - 13:35:40 EET

Dear List

Forgive me for being something of a cynic here but does this method mean you
have to print the inhibitor over the whole of the virgin powder bed and not
the part so, say you had a circular cross section of 100mm diameter in a 250
mm square build chamber the following maths applies

Print area for "normal" systems (say a z-corp) is 100mm dia circle of area
Print area for inhibitor method is (250mm*250mm)-area of the circle which is

Which suggests that the overhead from printing is huge even if you can
sinter an area in seconds. It also suggests more binder cost, more time
overhead, non reusable virgin powder. Whilst I am sure Prof Khoshnevis has
done a great job with the machine, and I now will go away and read the RP
Journal article I can not at this moment see where the huge time saving
comes from. Perhaps I'm missing something its happened before and it will
happen again!

Oh yea.....have a great Christmas etc see you soon


Dr. Chris Sutcliffe

Rapid, Micro and Bio Manufacturing Research
The University of Liverpool
Department of Engineering
Ashton Building
Brownlow Hill
L69 3GL

Tel. +44 (0)151 794 4316
Fax. +44 (0)151 794 4703
Mobile (0151) 794 7729

Secretary, Linda: +44 (0)151 794 4705

  -----Original Message-----
  From: []On Behalf
Of Bob Olsen
  Sent: 12 December 2003 15:01
  Subject: Rapid Prototyping Gets Faster And Cheaper

  Saw this in the Dec 1 issue of Business Week, this is form their online
version. Interesting!
  Regards, Bob Olsen


  Rapid Prototyping Gets Faster And Cheaper

  Since the late 1980s, rapid prototyping (RP) has evolved from a tool for
making factory molds and dies to a low-volume technique for making finished
parts, and even consumer product prototypes. One type of RP machine turns
computer models into functional parts by creating thin layer upon layer of
powdered metal or plastic, fusing each layer into a solid. This so-called
sintering is done by scanning a laser back and forth within the part's
often-intricate outline. But with most such machines, it takes hours to
build a large 3-D shape.

   Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at
the University of Southern California, says he has a better idea. Instead of
sintering a layer by scanning it with a laser beam, his system quickly fuses
the whole layer under an oven-like electric or gas heater. The powder
outside the part's outline doesn't solidify because it gets treated in
advance with a special liquid. Khoshnevis says his patented approach can
polish off each layer in less than 15 seconds. And it doesn't need a laser,
which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. He has licensed the process and
hopes to see products as early as next year.
  By Neil Gross

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