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An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art in Rapid Prototyping Systems for Mechanical Parts



Kevin K. Jurrens


This report documents an assessment of the State-of-the-Art in Rapid Prototyping (RP) systems for mechanical parts. This technology area has been identified as one of the key focus areas of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) Rapid Response Manufacturing (RRM) industry consortium. Several commercial systems for Rapid Prototyping are discussed, along with current research development work in new prototyping methodologies. The vast majority of Rapid Prototyping systems used in industry today are based upon the Stereolithography process, initially developed by 3D Systems, Inc. Other systems and prototyping technologies have more recently been commercialized. Applications for RP technology within a manufacturing facility can be quiet diverse. Industrial uses of this technology have progressed from product visualization and verification, through design integration and optimization, to rapid fabrication techniques for cast parts. This report also discusses several technology issues associated with the development and implementation of RP systems. In addition, a view into the future is provided with a comparison of the current State-of- the-Practice to the Sate-of-the-Art and a discussion on expected advanced in RP technology. Finally this assessment addresses standardization activities and provides recommendations for continued research to support the needs of the RRM program.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 5335
Report Number


free form fabrication, rapid prototyping, rapid response manufacturing, RRM, stereolithography


Jurrens, K. (1993), An Assessment of the State-of-the-Art in Rapid Prototyping Systems for Mechanical Parts, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 12, 2024)
Created September 1, 1993, Updated October 16, 2008