What is Rapid Prototyping?


Rapid prototyping is one of the most popular applications of additive manufacturing (AM), a technology used for building physical models and prototype parts from 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and medical scan data. Unlike CNC machines tools, which are subtractive in nature, AM systems join together liquid, powder, and sheet materials to form complex parts. Layer by layer, they fabricate plastic, wood,  ceramic, and metal objects based on thin horizontal cross-sections taken from a computer model.

Photo of FDM Titan machine, courtesy of Stratasys

Around the world, AM is changing the way organizations design and manufacture products. When used correctly, it can save impressive amounts of time and money. Companies maintain that additive processes have helped them trim weeks and even months of design and prototyping time, while enhancing the quality of their products. Bringing a product to market weeks or months before your competitors can mean the difference between success and failure, so companies that choose to apply AM can compete more effectively.

Related Posts

Wohlers Report 2014 Uncovers Annual Growth of 34.9% for 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Industry

May 1, 2014

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA, May 1, 2014—Wohlers Associates, Inc. today announced the publication of Wohlers Report 2014. The report marks the…

AM in Africa

October 21, 2018

Yesterday, I recently returned from my 22nd visit to Africa. Twenty of them have been to South Africa where additive…

New Industry Report on Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Unveiled

May 16, 2011

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO, USA, May 16, 2011—Wohlers Associates, Inc. today announced the publication of Wohlers Report 2011, an annual global study…

Learn more about ASTM and AM CoE

ASTM unites with the Wohlers brand to build on its market influence and access to top AM industry decision-makers worldwide.

  • Establish standards, certification, and qualification for repeatable, consistent parts and processes
  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

Research and Development

Under the leadership of the R&D team, the AM CoE partners plan and conduct coordinated R&D projects, prioritized annually and targeted to expedite...

Learn More

Education and Workforce Development

Provide a comprehensive program that educates and trains the additive manufacturing workforce at all levels, while continually incorporating new advances...

Learn More