Rapid prototyping (RP) technology divides the complex three-dimensional machining of a solid into a series of layers, which greatly reduces the machining difficulty, and has the following characteristics:
(1) The rapidity of the whole forming process is suitable for the fierce modern product market;
(2) It can be used to make 3D solid of any complex shape;
(3) With the direct drive of CAD model, the integration of design and manufacturing is realized. Its intuitiveness and easy modification provide a good design environment for product design;
(4) No special fixture, mould and cutter are needed in the forming process, which not only saves the cost, but also shortens the production cycle.
(5) The highly integrated technology is not only the inevitable product of the development of modern science and technology, but also the comprehensive application of them, with distinct high-tech characteristics.
The above characteristics determine that RP technology is mainly suitable for new product development, rapid single piece and small batch parts manufacturing, complex shape parts manufacturing, mold and model design and manufacturing, as well as for the manufacturing of difficult materials, shape design inspection, assembly inspection and rapid reverse engineering.