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Rapid Prototyping
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Its the name given to a host of related technologies that are used to fabricate physical objects directly from CAD data sources. These methods are unique in that they add and bond materials in layers to form objects. Such systems are also known by the names additive fabrication, three dimensional printing, solid freeform fabrication and layered manufacturing. Rapid prototyping also describes a software engineering methodology.

Rapid prototyping, is the automatic construction of physical objects using solid freeform fabrication and are used to produce models and prototype parts.Rapid prototyping takes virtual designs (from computer aided design (CAD) or from animation modeling software), transforms them into cross sections, still virtual, and then create each cross section in physical space, one after the next until the model is finished. It is a WYSIWYG process where the virtual model and the physical model correspond almost identically.

The machine reads in data from a CAD drawing, and lays down successive layers of liquid or powdered material, and in this way builds up the model from a long series of cross sections. These layers which correspond to the virtual cross section from the CAD model are glued together or fused (often using a laser) automatically to create the final shape. The standard interface between CAD software and rapid prototyping machines is the STL file format.

However, there are currently several schemes such as RepRap Project. to improve rapid prototyper technology to the stage where a prototyper can manufacture its own component parts. These technologies offer advantages in many applications compared to classical subtractive fabrication methods such as milling or turning

WYSIWYG: An acronym for What You See Is What You Get, used in computing to describe a system in which content during editing appears very similar to the final product. It is commonly used for word processors, but has other applications, such as Web (HTML) authoring.

Why use Rapid Prototyping
o To increase effective communication.
o To decrease development time.
o To decrease costly mistakes.
o To minimize sustaining engineering changes.
o To extend product lifetime by adding necessary features and eliminating redundant features early in the design.

Methodology of Rapid Prototyping
The basic methodology for all current rapid prototyping techniques can be summarized as follows:
1.A CAD model is constructed, then converted to STL format. The resolution can be set to minimize stair stepping.
2. The RP machine processes the .STL file by creating sliced layers of the model.
3. The first layer of the physical model is created. The model is then lowered by the thickness of the next layer, and the process is repeated until completion of the model.
4. The model and any supports are removed. The surface of the model is then finished and cleaned.

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