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Introduction

The competition in the world market for manufactured products has intensified tremendously in the recent years. It has become vital, if not necessary for the newer products to reach the market as early as possible, before our competitor introduces it. Thus to bring the products to the market as early as possible, several processes in its designing and its manufacturing have been squeezed both in terms of time and material resource. To do this, several new techniques need to be evolved in terms of designing, manufacturing, tooling and finishing, and many have been evolved in the past two to three decades. Most of these are technology driven and involve computers in some or the other way. One of these time reducing and material saving process is apid !rototyping. apid !rototyping is a method of producing fully functional" non#functional prototypes of products by additive"stack manufacturing. !rototyping is not at all a new process. It has been used for many centuries. $ven when the early man made tools, they were a kind of prototype, although earlier the prototypes were made by subtractive machining, i.e. the conventional machining processes, but it has changed quite a lot. The older subtractive method of prototyping involved the removal of material from a block of metal, which involved waste of material and the prototype being made by the operator, was not accurate. %owever apid !rototyping allows us to create the prototype directly from the design made on any &'( software, with high level of accuracy and precision and in lesser time. In this technique, the basic concept is to make a product by spreading layers of material over the previous layer. This makes it possible to make those ob)ects which have hollow sections or parts which are not accessible by the conventional machining tools. *ith the advent of apid !rototyping it has become quite easy for the industries to research and develop new products at a relatively faster rate, as they can analyze their products on analyzing software+s like ansys, and then make prototypes of those products to be tested in physical world. This technique also helps the industries in gaining the opinion of consumers on the product and in predicting the need of the consumers by allowing such prototypes to be tested by selected group of people, thus getting feedback on the product directly from the customer, and that to without setting up a pro)ect to manufacture the product. This gives the designers an insight of the needs of the mass and they can accordingly change the design and other parameters of the product so as to make the product market ready. apid !rototyping is a vast topic to study, and in this report we will be discussing the use of apid !rototyping in various fields, various methods used for apid !rototyping, its advantages , limitations and its future scope in the manufacturing industry.

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Why Prototype & Why Rapid Prototyping?


The big question that must arise in our mind is -*hy !rototype.+ *hy spend money, time and energy on making something that you could not even sell. *hy not start the production so that I could get my product in the market as early as possible, so as to defeat my opponents. /ut in a competitive market can we risk to launch a product in market which has not been tested under its working conditions, or can we set up the production unit and then test the final products for their usability. *ell I don+t think any company could afford any of the above two cases, so the answer to our problems is a !rototype. 0' !rototype is the first or original e1ample of something that has been or will be copied or developed2 3uch a physical ob)ect can be easily tested under various real life conditions that the original product may have to face. It can also be used to get hold of the opinion of the consumers, so as to develop the product e1clusively for the targeted customers. 4et+s take the e1ample of an arm chair. It is not )ust made by attaching different pieces of wood. *e actually make different prototypes according the angles at which the body should be bent and then these prototypes are then tested for the most comfortable set, which is then given to certain people to test and give their feedback. Only then the armchair is sent for manufacturing ' very good e1ample of the above need is the mobile phone dummies. The mobile handset manufacturing companies make dummies of the mobile handsets 5sometimes fully functional6 and these are presented to a group of people handpicked according to their preferences and their tastes, and the group then gives its opinion on the mobile handsets, which ranges from -how good is the grip of the phone+ to -how the touch or keypad responds+. Thus it is the vital requirement of every manufacturing company to make a prototype to test on and then set up the production unit for the tested and passed design.

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7ig. 8 !rototype of a /arcode 3canner

9ow comes the ma)or question, I can make a prototype, or get it made by an operator, then why spend millions on rapid prototyping. *ell at this stage, time is money, and it is time that we save by rapid prototyping. The same prototype that would be made by an operator in a week could be made in 8: to 8; hours by rapid prototyping, so the question is why not use the fastest method and save time i.e. indirectly money by using apid !rototyping.

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Historical Development of Rapid Prototyping


The development of rapid prototyping is very closely related to the advent of application of computers in the manufacturing industry. 's mentioned earlier in Introduction, apid !rototyping is not a new technique, but the ma)or advancements in the computer applications has made it more useful as well as more cost effective. The emergence of apid !rototyping would not have been possible if it had not been for &'( i.e. &omputer 'ided (esigning. The table below gives a chronological history of the development of the technologies relevant to apid !rototyping.

's it is clear from the above table that the first apid !rototyping 3ystem was developed in 8<==, although it was so costly that most of the industries could not adopt it, but with the decreasing cost of computers and the reduction in the prices of these systems it is not a big deal to get hold of such a system and use it to build a prototype in no time.

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Fundamentals of Rapid Prototyping

There are various methods of creating a prototype, although they follow the same basic approach, which can be defined in the following points#>

8. ' model of the component to be prototyped is modeled on a &omputer 'ided (esign 5&'(6 system. The model which defines the part to be made must have closed surfaces i.e. it must represent an enclosed volume. The model must give all the details related to the internal and outside surface of the component. 3uch requirements are not necessary when modeling via solid modeling techniques, as the model modeled is itself a solid ob)ect. ?. The model made by solid modeling or surface modeling is then converted to a format known as 3T4 53tereo 4ithography6 file format. The 3T4 file format appro1imates the surfaces of the model by polygons, that means that the 3T4 file for models which have curved parts can be very large. @. ' computer program analyzes the .3T4 file which defines the model, and then slices the model into very thin cross#sections. A. These cross#sections are then recreated by the solidification of either the liquids or powders and then combined to form a @( model. 'nother way is that we use the cross# sections that are already thin, i.e. solid laminations and these thin laminations are then glued together with the adhesives to build the required model. The Bisual epresentation of the above four points is given on the ne1t page, with the addition of transmission of data and post processing on the prototype, which is seldom needed in advanced apid !rototyping Machines.

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The above figure provides a clear outline of how a basic apid !rototyping proceeds, 5i.e. the process chain6 and the basic steps involved in this process.

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Four Key Aspects of Rapid Prototyping

The (evelopment in apid !rototyping can be seen in four ma)or areas which are mentioned below#> 8. Input ?. Method @. Material A. 'pplications These four are depicted in the ! wheel shown below

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! Input"#
The input refers to the electronic information that is required to define the @( ob)ect. 9ow this can be done in two ways a6 $ither by a computer model made by &'( system which can either be a surface model or a solid model. This may look quite a tough task, but actually it is the easy one, b6 The second method involves the modeling of a physical model. This is a sophisticated task, and requires data acquisition through reverse engineering. In this method various techniques are used to acquire the data of the physical ob)ect such as coordinate measuring machine, or a laser digitizer to capture the data points of the physical model and reconstruct it on a &'( system.

$! %ethod"#
There are various methods that can be used in !, but all these methods can be generally classified into these categories#> !hotocuring, Coining or /inding, Melting and 3olidifying or 7using, and Dluing and Coining. !hotocuring can be further classified into three categories#> 3ingle 4aser /eam, (ouble 4aser /eams, and Masked 4amp.

&! %aterials"#
Initially the material can be in any of the three forms, namely 3olid, 4iquid and !owder. In solid form the material varies from pellets, wires or laminates. The current range of materials includes paper, nylon, wa1, resins, metals and ceramics.

'! Applications"#
Most of the products made by ! are either finished or touched up before their use. The applications of ! can be grouped into @ parts#> a6 (esign b6 $ngineering analysis and planning c6 Manufacturing and tooling. There are a vast range of industries that can benefit from !, some of them being aerospace, automotive, biomedical, consumer, electrical and electronic products.

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(lassification of Rapid Prototyping )ystems


*i+uid ,ased
8. @( 3ystems+ stereo lithography apparatus534'6 ?. Ob)et Deometries 4td+s !oly)et @. (#M$&+s solid creation system53&36 A. $nvisionTec+s !erfactory :. 'utostrade+s $#(arts ;. &M$T+s splid ob)ect ultraviolet#laser printer 53OE!6 F. $nvisionTec+s /ioplotter =. apid freeze prototyping

<. Microfabrication 8G. Microfabrica+s $7'/ Technology 88. (#M$&+s '&&E4'3 8?. Two 4aser /eams 8@. &ubital+s solid ground curing53D&6 8A. Tei)in 3eiki+s soliform system 8:. Meiko+s rapid prototyping system for the )ewelry industry

)olid ,ased
8. 3tratasys+s fused deposition modeling57(M6 ?. 3olidscape+s benchtop system @. &ubic Technologies+ laminated ob)ect manufacturing54OM6 A. @( 3ystems+s Multi#)et Modeling system5MCM6 :. 3olidimension+s plastic sheet lamination5!346"@( 3ystem+s invision 4( sheet lamination ;. Hira+s paper lamination tech5!4T6 F. &'M#4$M+s &4 8GG =. $nne1 &orporation+s offset fabbers
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<. 3hape (eposition manufacturing process

Po-der ,ased
8. @( systems+ selective laser sintering53436 ?. I &orporation+s three#dimensional printing5@(!6 @. $O3+s $O3I9T systems A. Optomec+s laser engineered net shaping54$936 :. 'rcam+s electron beam melting5$/M6 ;. &oncept 4aser Dmb%+s 4aser&E3I9D F. M&!#%$H Tooling Dmb%+s ealizer II534M6 =. !heni1 3ystems+s !M series5436 <. 3intermask Technologies '/+s selective mask sintering53M36 8G. @(#Micromac 'D+s Microsintering 88. Therics Inc.+s theriform technology 8?. The $1 One &ompany+s !roMetal 8@. Bo1el)et Technology Dmb%+s BJ system 8A. 3oligen+s direct shell production casting5(3!&6 8:. 7raunhofer+s multiphase )et solidification5MC36 8;. 'eromet &orporation+s lasform technology

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Widely .sed %ethods


Of the above AG processes, all have some or the other advantages and disadvantages and are being used by various companies as their signature technique. Of the above mentioned techniques, lets constrain ourself to a few most important and widely used processes, they being 3tereolithography 3elective 4aser 3intering 7used (eposition Modeling Three#dimensional !rinting 4aminated Ob)ect Manufacturing 4aser#engineered 9et 3haping Multi)et Modeling

4ets continue with the aforementioned methods#>

)tereolithography
3tereolithography 534'#stereolithography apparatus6, launched by @( 3ystems Inc. in 8<=F, is the first and most commercially used rapid prototyping method. ' platform is placed in a bath of photosensitive EB#curable resin at a level that leaves a small layer of resin between the top of the platform and the surface of the bath. ' laser 5often %e#&d or argon ion to produce EB radiation of about @?GK@FG nm wavelength6 then strikes the desired areas, thereby curing the resin selectively. 's the layer is completed, the platform descends allowing liquid resin to flow over the previously cured area. ' wiper blade clears the e1cess fluid from the top of the surface. This sweep is essential to achieve consistent layer thickness and prevent air entrapment. 's the new layer is cured, it sticks to the preceding layer. This process continues until the ob)ect is completed. On completion, the ob)ect raises above the fluid, so that resin can drain out. The ob)ect is carefully removed and washed in a solvent to remove uncured resin. The cleaned ob)ect has to be placed in a EB oven to ensure that all resin is cured. (uring the process, features that lean over have to be supported. This support structure can easily be generated by software and consists of a series of slender sacrificial columns or lattices.

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7ig. A 3chematic of 34' !rocess

' lattice structure is also created as a base to prevent the model from sticking to the building platform. Thus, additional hand#finishing will be needed to remove these supporting structures and to sand any small stubs from the surface. !hotosensitive materials used in this process are !' '/3 !! and rubber#like materials, etc !rocess times, tolerances, and surface finish depend on layer thickness, which is controlled by the amount the platform is lowered into the resin. Denerally, layer thicknesses vary from G.G:K G.: mm. Thinner layers can be applied with digital light processing using a technique called perfactory, which is based on the standard 34' process. Instead of describing a cross section with a laser, a normal beamer covers the entire cross section at once. (ue to the high resolution of the beamer 5pi1el size> @< Lm6 and the accurate positioning system of the platform 5layer thickness> ?: Lm6, the parts produced can contain highly detailed features. /elow is a part produced by 34'#>

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7ig. : ' (M( mirror reproduction using 34'

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)elective *aser )intering


3elective laser sintering 53436 is a process that was patented in 8<=< by &arl (eckard, university of Te1as. ' layer of powder 5particle size appro1imately :G Lm6 is spread over a platform and heated to a temperature )ust below the melting temperature. ' carbon dio1ide laser needs to raise the temperature only slightly and selectively to melt the powder particles. 's the layer is finished, the platform moves down by the thickness of one layer 5appro1imately G.8GKG.8: mm6, and new powder is spread. *hen the laser e1poses the new layer, it melts and bonds to the previous layer. The process repeats until the part is complete. On completion, the built volume has to cool down to room temperature after which the processed ob)ects can be removed from the powder bed by brushing away e1cess powder. 3andblasting the ob)ects removes all unsintered particles. 3urrounding powder particles act as supporting material for the ob)ects, so no additional structures are needed.

7ig. ; 3chematic of 3elective 4aser 3intering

7urthermore, more ob)ects can be built at the same time because they can be meshed above"in each other. $1cess powder can be reused. %owever, it needs to be mi1ed with virgin powder to guarantee good part quality. &ommonly used materials for 343 are nylon 5polyamide#8?6, glass filled nylon, and polystyrene. The method has also been e1tended to direct fabrication of metal and ceramic ob)ects and tooling inserts. &haracteristics> M Hey advantage of making functional parts in essentially final materials.
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M Dood mechanical properties, though depends on building orientation. M !owdery surface M Many variables to control M 9o support required 'n e1ample of a part made by 343 is given below#>

7ig. F 'ccurate positioning elements with internal hinges produced by 343

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Fused Deposition %odeling


7used deposition modeling 57(M6, developed by 3tratasys, is the second most widely used rapid prototyping process. ' filament thread of plastic is unwound from a coil and fed into an e1trusion head, where it is heated and e1truded through a small nozzle. /ecause the e1trusion head is mounted on a mechanical stage, the required geometry can be described, one layer at a time. The molten plastic solidifies immediately after being deposited and bonds to the layer below.

7ig. = 3chematic of the 7(M process 3upport material is laid down similarly through another e1trusion head. The platform on which the ob)ect is built steps down by the thickness of a single layer. The entire system is contained within a heated oven chamber which is held at a moderate temperature above the glass transition temperature of the polymer. This provides much better control of the process because stresses can rela1. 's in the 34' process, overhanging features need to be supported. This support material needs to be removed in secondary operations. &ommercially available water#soluble support materials facilitate this final step. '/3, polycarbonate, and poly5phenyl6sulfone are commonly used materials in the 7(M process. &haracteristics> M Office#friendly and quiet. M 7(M is fairly fast for small parts. M Dood mechanical properties, so suitable for producing functional parts. M *ide range of materials.
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/hree Dimensional Printing 0&DP1


Three (imensional !rinting 5@(!6 technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and licensed to several corporations. The process is similar to the 3elective 4aser 3intering 53436 process, but instead of using a laser to sinter the material, an ink#)et printing head deposits a liquid adhesive that binds the material. Material options, which include metal or ceramic powders, are somewhat limited but are ine1pensive relative to other additive processes. @( !rinting offers the advantage of fast build speeds, typically ?#A layers per minute. %owever, the accuracy, surface finish, and part strength are not quite as good as some other additive processes. @( !rinting is typically used for the rapid prototyping of conceptual models 5limited functional testing is possible6.

7ig. < 3chematic of Three (imensional !rinting The @( printing process begins with the powder supply being raised by a piston and a leveling roller distributing a thin layer of powder to the top of the build chamber. ' multi# channel ink#)et print head then deposits a liquid adhesive to targeted regions of the powder bed. These regions of powder are bonded together by the adhesive and form one layer of the part. The remaining free standing powder supports the part during the build. 'fter a layer is built, the build platform is lowered and a new layer of powder added, leveled, and the printing repeated. 'fter the part is completed, the loose supporting powder can be brushed
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away and the part removed. @( printed parts are typically infiltrated with a sealant to improve strength and surface finish. 9o support structures are required because the surrounding powder particles support overhanging features. /y adding color to the binder solution, ob)ects can be produced in every desired color. 3tarch, plaster, medicines 5for producing controlled#dosage pharmaceuticals6, ceramics, and metals are commonly used materials 5powders6 for @#(!. &haracteristics> M 4imitations on resolution and surface finish. M 7ragile ob)ects need to be infiltrated. 'n $1ample of @( !rinted Ob)ect is given below

7ig. 8G @#( printed landscape

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*aminated 234ect %anufacturing


The first commercial 4aminated Ob)ect Manufacturing 54OM6 system was shipped in 8<<8. 4OM was developed by %elisys of Torrance, &'. The main components of the system are a feed mechanism that advances a sheet over a build platform, a heated roller to apply pressure to bond the sheet to the layer below, and a laser to cut the outline of the part in each sheet layer. !arts are produced by stacking, bonding, and cutting layers of adhesive#coated sheet material on top of the previous one. ' laser cuts the outline of the part into each layer. 'fter each cut is completed, the platform lowers by a depth equal to the sheet thickness 5typically G.GG?# G.G?G in6, and another sheet is advanced on top of the previously deposited layers. The platform then rises slightly and the heated roller applies pressure to bond the new layer. The laser cuts the outline and the process is repeated until the part is completed. 'fter a layer is cut, the e1tra material remains in place to support the part during build.

7ig. 88 3chematic of the 4OM process The finish and accuracy are not as good as with some other methodsN however, ob)ects have the look and feel of wood and can be worked and finished like wood. 'n e1ample of ob)ect made by 4aminated Ob)ect manufacturing is given on the ne1t page#>
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7ig. 8? Trumpet prototype using 4OM

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*aser 5ngineered 6et )haping


4aser engineered net shaping or 4$93 is a technology developed by 3andia 9ational 4aboratories for fabricating metal parts directly from a computer#aided design 5&'(6 solid model by using a metal powder in)ected into a molten pool created by a focused, high# powered laser beam. ' high power laser is used to melt metal powder supplied coa1ially to the focus of the laser beam through a deposition head. The laser beam typically travels through the center of the head and is focused to a small spot by one or more lenses. The J#O table is moved in raster fashion to fabricate each layer of the ob)ect. The head is moved up vertically as each layer is completed. Metal powders are delivered and distributed around the circumference of the head either by gravity, or by using a pressurized carrier gas. 'n inert shroud gas is often used to shield the melt pool from atmospheric o1ygen for better control of properties, and to promote layer to layer adhesion by providing better surface wetting.

7ig 8@ 3chematic of 4aser $ngineered 9et 3haping

This process is similar to other @( fabrication technologies in its approach in that it forms a solid component by the layer additive method. The 4$93 process can go from metal and metal o1ide powder to metal parts, in many cases without any secondary operations. 4$93 is similar to selective laser sintering, but the metal powder is applied only where material is being added to the part at that moment. 4$93 is the only process where a metal part can be printed directly without being buried in powder. It can produce parts in a wide range of alloys, including titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and other specialty materialsN as well as composite and functionally graded materials. !rimary applications for 4$93 technology include repair , overhaul, rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing, and limited#run manufacturing for aerospace, defense, and medical markets. Microscopy studies show the 4$93 parts to be fully dense with no compositional degradation. Mechanical testing reveals outstanding as#fabricated mechanical properties.

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The process can also make PnearP net shape parts when itQs not possible to make an item to e1act specifications. In these cases post production light machining, surface finishing, or heat treatment may be applied to achieve end compliance.

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%ulti4et %odelling0%7%1
Multi)et modelling 5MCM6 uses multiple print heads to deposit droplets of material in successive, thin layers. Two ma)or MCM techniques can be distinguished #> ThermoCetR# ' print head deposits droplets of wa1. /ecause of its relatively fast production, this technique is marketed to the engineering or design office for quick form studies 5concept modeling6. %owever, wa1 models can also be used as master patterns for investment casting, as will be e1plained later. InBisionR# ' print head )ets two separate materials, an acrylic EB#curable photopolymer# based model material and a wa1#like material to produce support structures for the model.

7ig. 8A 3chematic of Multi)et Modelling (ue to the relative good quality of the models, production speed, and surface finish, applications range from preliminary prototypes to mock#ups for concept proposals or marketing models. 'n $1ample of products made by Multi)et Modeling is given on the ne1t page#>

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7ig. 8: *a1 Models Made by Multi)et Modelling

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Advantages
apid !rototyping has Manifold advantages#> apid !rototyping can provide with concept proof that would be required for attracting funds. The !rototype gives the user a fair idea about the final look of the product. apid prototyping can enhance the early visibility. It is easier to find the design flaws in the early developmental stages.'ctive participation among the users and producer is encouraged by rapid prototyping. 's the development costs are reduced, apid prototyping proves to be cost effective. The user can get a higher output. The deficiencies in the earlier prototypes can be detected and rectified in time. The speed of system development is increased. It is possible to get immediate feedback from the user. There is better communication between the user and designer as the requirements and e1pectations are e1pressed in the beginning itself .%igh quality product is easily delivered by way of apid prototyping. apid prototyping enables development time and costs. There are many innovative ways in which apid prototyping can be used, such as $nd Eser &ustomization, 'dditive Manufacturing, apid Tooling, etc.

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Disadvantages
Bery high costs, which have reduced in last few years, but are still quite high, are the biggest disadvantage of this technique. Its use in $nd Eser !roducts, i.e. manufacturing finished products by apid prototyping, is questionable due to the time taken in making a finished product, which is very high as compared to the conventional methods. Other than the above two problems the technique is very efficient.

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Future )cope
apid !rototyping is not a new technique, but the new techniques like 'dditive manufacturing, are a part of development of apid !rototyping. In future apid !rototyping is e1pected to deliver many such techniques that could change the way we live. 4et+s discuss two of them, one in near future while other in distant#> In the coming future, we will be able to make things we need, instead of buying them. *ith the decreasing cost of @( printers, in the near future it would be possible for every single person to design and print customized covers for their mobiles and many other ob)ects. In contrast to the above point, 9'3' has decided to send a @( printer to the International 3pace 3tation, so that the replacement parts that are carried in the station can be replaced by a @( printer which could print any part that is needed for replacement. This would save space for necessary commodities like food and fuel. 'nother new technique although in early stages of research claims to form %uman Tissues by a technique similar to apid !rototyping, i.e. adding living tissues layer by layer. esearchers at the Eniversity of %asselt, in /elgium, successfully printed a new )awbone for an =@ year old women, who in now able to speak and chew normally with it. 3o in the coming time there would be no organ donations, )ust print the desired organ and get going.

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(onclusion
apid !rototyping has changed the way articles were manufactured. It has made things easier for both the designer as well for the users. *hile it helps the designers to foresee the problems in his design, it helps the users to tell the designers what the mass demands, so as to have better and desired products. This technique, though costly, has opened the new world of manufacturing. 9ew manufacturing techniques like 'dditive Manufacturing and apid Tooling, are an e1tension of this technique and with further development, it would help us make better and cheaper products, and in relatively lesser time.

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References

&hua &.H., 4eong H.7., 4im &.3., apid !rototyping> !rinciples and 'pplications, *orld 3cientific !ublishing &o., III $dition. 4iou 7.*., apid !rototyping and $ngineering 'pplications> ' Toolbo1 for !rototype (evelopment, & & !ress> Taylor and 7rancis Droup, I $dition Benuvinod !.H., *eiyin M, apid !rototyping> 4aser#/ased and Other Technologies, Hluwer 'cademic !ublishers, I $dition a)a B., 7ernandes H.C., everse $ngineering# 'n Industrial !erspective, 3pringer# Berlag 4ondon 4imited, I $dition

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