Rapid Prototyping & Tooling State of the Industry:

1998 Worldwide Progress Report  

Terry Wohlers



  Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Focus of this report

Introduction to rapid prototyping and tooling

Summary of 1997
    Growth into other countries
    3D printers for concept modeling
    Rapid tooling
    Challenges for the future

History of RP systems

Industries being served
    How RP models are being used
    Installations by country

Time-to-market pressures
    Communication
    Engineering changes
    Producing good ideas and powerful proposals
    Developing concept models
    Getting early input from suppliers, tool makers
    Prototypes and prototype tooling
    Metal castings
    Verifying CAD databases
    CAD databases
    Styling, ergonomic studies
    Requesting quotes
    Packaging and shipping
    Critical-to-function drawings

Downturn in the RP industry

Revenue growth
    Secondary market
    Product sales
    Revenue from services
    Service bureau market
    Other service revenues

Unit sales
    3D regains the lead
    Systems sold by region in 1997
    Cumulative systems sold by region
    Units sold by US manufacturers in 1997
    Units sold by Japanese manufacturers in 1997
    1997 unit sales by manufacturer
    Cumulative unit sales by manufacturer
    Unit sales by vendor and year

Growth trends and sales forecasts
    Unit sales growth percentages
    Worldwide revenue estimates
    Annual revenue growth percentages
    Comparing growth of RP and CNC machining

Service bureaus
    Concentration of service bureaus
    Working with service bureaus
    Times have changed
    What’s driving prices downward?
    Challenges ahead
    Temporary market saturation
    Second wave of service bureaus
    Mix of RP machines

Prototype tooling
    Silicone rubber tooling
    Direct AIM tooling
    Aluminum-filled epoxy tooling
    Spray metal tooling
    Cast kirksite tooling
    SLS RapidTool
    3D Keltool
    Prototype tooling selection guide

New approaches to metal tooling
    Competing against machined tooling
    ExpressTool
    CEMCOM
    Dynamic Tooling
    DMLS from EOS
    ExtrudeHone
    PHAST
    Size of tooling market

RP materials
    Stereolithography resins
    Materials for other RP processes

Software for RP
    Bridgeworks and SolidView
    MAGICS, CT-Modeller
    Rapid Prototyping Module
    Rapid Tools
    StlView
    3D View
    Velocity2

US system manufacturers
    3D Systems
    Aaroflex
    DTM
    Helisys
    Sanders Prototype
    Stratasys
    What does a 3D printed model cost?
    Z Corporation
    Schroff Development
    What happened to BPM?

RP stock values
    RP stock indices
    P/E ratios
    Value of the US dollar

Europe
    EU support
    RP-related groups and associations
    EuroMold
    Next-day models
    Fraunhofer activities
    EOS
    Fockele & Schwarze

Japan
    Markets embracing RP
    Unit sales growth
    Unit installations
    Trends in Japan
    Obstacles to RP growth
    Clinging to home-grown software
    Tooling and high-speed machining in Japan

System developers from other regions
    Cubital
    Kinergy

New system developments
    LENS technology at SNL
    Directed Light Fabrication at LANL
    Fraunhofer's Laser Generating
    Topographic Shell Fabrication
    MIT
    Offset Fabrication

US government sponsored R&D programs
    NSF funding
    DARPA, ONR, NASA

RP education
    Overcoming hurdles
    Research activities

Trends in CAD/CAM/CAE
    ACIS versus Parasolid
    Windows compatibility
    CAD unit installations
    Software for industrial design
    Machining STL files
    Hardware and operating systems
    UNIX sites willing to consider PCs

The Internet

Medical modeling
    Skull model of young boy
    Example models
    Endoscopy project
    Cervical spine pilot study

Reverse engineering
    How the technology works
    Laser digitizing systems
    What works, what doesn’t
    Other suggestions

Where’s it all headed?
    Risks, land mines
    Outlook
    In some form, the technology is here to stay
    Rapid manufacturing

The future
    The challenge of prediction
    3D printing
    Virtual prototyping
    Systems of the future
    Future applications

Final comments

Where to learn more
    Internet mail list
    RPA/SME

Appendix A: Glossary of terms

Appendix B: Addresses of RP system manufacturers
    United States
    Israel and Europe
    Japan
    Singapore

Appendix C: Rapid tooling technology developers

Appendix D: RP software companies

Appendix E: US RP systems

Appendix F: RP systems outside the US

Appendix G: 3D digitizing systems