Rapid Prototyping is used to describe the process of turning a 3D CAD design into a real tangible part.
Various processes that are used to create multi-dimensional objects come under the umbrella of 3D printing. 3D Printing technology utilizes a process called Additive Manufacturing, in which a computer controlled software lays down different layers of material to give it shape or characteristics of a certain object.

A 3D printer is very similar to an industrial robot that is programmed to place the material at specific intervals to give it form, 3D printers can print any type of shape or geometry. Usually, these shapes are based upon a 3D modeled or electronic representation of the object.

3D printing in current scenario refers to the machines that deposit adhesive material upon a powdered bed using the printer like heads. In past few years, 3D printing has come under a lot of attention due to the evolution of technology.

The 3D printing technology was first developed by Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research in 1981, the scientist at the research institute used Photo, Hardening Polymer in order to create a 3D representation of an object. Initially the process was called sintering, which then evolved to become 3D printing. Stanford and Melton University made substantial contributions towards developing the technology to take its modern form, the researchers created an isolated work environment where the printer like head carried the material that would be used to create the object and injected them at the pre-determined location with the help of Computer-based modeling.

Currently there are several different methods employed worldwide to create 3D printed models but most popular methods currently being used in the commercial sector is based on Computer Assisted Designs or CAD, other methods such as 3D Scanners and three-dimensional photography are also used widely around the world.

The process of creating a 3D model out of the intended material is very similar to sculpting, where the artist takes the material and shapes it using different tools to create a unique looking object. 3D printers use the 3D CAD model in the computer as a guideline to understand the contours and geometry of the object and applies the material, according to this guideline. The process slow but does have the capability to achieve very accurate results.

Initially, the reference model scanned using 3D scanners or photographed using several methods to create a three-dimensional representation of the object in the computer that is then converted to very thin slices using a program called slicer. These slices form the basis of the object. The 3D printer reads the slices and creates an identical representation of the object on the platform. These slices are stacked over one another to finally take the form of the intended object.

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