Continued growth and acceptance of rapid prototyping (RP) will come only if the technology reaches a broader base of users. For this to happen, it must become easier for companies to measure the benefits of RP and justify its costs. Today, measuring the speed and cost advantages of RP requires time and money that many small companies cannot afford. Furthermore, comparing the accuracy and feature detail offered by the wide range of RP systems can become an overwhelming task, especially for companies that are already stretched for resources. Standard, well-understood methods of measuring RP?s benefits and limitations will help propel this industry into its second decade. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is proposing that key representatives from the RP industry work together to define methodologies for measuring RP?s benefits and comparing systems and their outputs. End user companies require clear, concrete steps they can use to understand how RP may give them a strategic advantage. Securing input and advice from industrial users and leaders of RP systems is critically important to the success of this effort. On October 16 and 17, 1997, about 40 individuals from government, academia, and private industry met at NIST to review opportunities and challenges related to measurement issues for RP and the development of RP standards. The group decided that a need indeed exists and divided the proposed work into two parts. Part I focuses on the measurement and comparison of speed, cost, accuracy, and related issues. Part II concentrates on enhanced data transfer from CAD to RP systems and a proposed future alternative to the existing CAD-RP interface. This article discusses the outcome of the NIST workshop. Further details will be added and the concepts will evolve through further discussion within the industry.