Rapid prototyping (RP) is one of the fabrication processes known to have inherent rapidity and flexibility in its operation. It defines as a group of techniques that refers to the layer-by-layer fabrication of physical models three-dimensional (3D) directly from a computer-aided design (CAD). The paper focuses on basic steps in RP technique which include creating a CAD model and converting it to Standard Tessellation Language (STL) file format, slicing the STL file, layer by layer fabrication, cleaning and finishing the part. In recent years, increased use of computers has been visualized in CAD, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools. Various prominent RP techniques such as Stereolithography (SL), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) etc. have been discussed in sufficient length. SL which is based on photo-polymerisation or photo-curing and synthesis of polymers initiated upon the absorption of ultraviolet (UV) or visible light by a polymerisable system. SLS process uses powder material and CO2 laser is used for scanning and sintering of a part. Another popular technique, FDM works on melting and solidification principle. LOM observes layer-by-layer lamination of paper material sheets using a CO2 laser; each sheet represents one cross-sectional layer of the CAD model of the part. The applications of the RP have also been comprehensively described in various fields such as aerospace industry, automotive industry, biomedical industry, and electronic industry.
CAD, Rapid Prototyping, STL