Rapid Manufacturing (RM) is the production of parts in various materials directly from a 3D CAD file. RM is a so-called Layer Additive Process, which means that the parts are constructed with micrometer thin layers. This layer-by-layer production approach provide designers with unprecedented geometrical freedom when optimizing properties and functions of their products. Furthermore, RM supports batch sizes down to a single part, since no special tools are needed.
There are a wealth of different technologies available. Some of the more prominent methods include:
- SLM machines manufacture metal parts by completely melting metal powder.
- SLS machines sinter metal powder to form the desired metal part.
- SLA machines harden liquid polymer by UV light exposure.
- 3DP machines use inkjet technology to print the part with wax
As CompoLight focuses on manufacturing metal parts, only the former two methods are investigated in the project.