In 2012, after more than 10 years of product development we decided to move the majority of our business development resources to creating a professional 3D printer. A printer that would be not only be affordable for the masses but set new standards in the design and technology.
The result is the Rapide 3D range of printers, scanners and drawing technology. Rapide 3D printers not only set the highest standards in performance and technology, they bring never before available design and synergy to a still very tech orientated market place.
Our goal at Rapide 3D is to allow as many people as possible to step into the exciting world of rapid prototyping from their desktops at an affordable price point that will change the market in terms of quality and design.
Today, it is rare to be able to design a product, which can totally change how we see or use a technology, but Rapide 3D printers do just that by changing how you will perceive what 3D printing is and will be in the future.
Welcome to our world, a world where impossible is not an option and the future is only limited by our own imagination.
Rapid Prototyping (RP) - What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid Prototyping (RP) enables the quick fabrication of physical models using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data. Used in a wide range of industries, Rapid prototyping allows companies to turn innovative ideas into successful end products rapidly and efficiently.
Rapid Prototyping techniques offer multiple benefits, such as:
• Fast and effective communication of design ideas
• Effective validation of design fit, form, and function
• Greater design flexibility, with the ability to run quickly through multiple design iterations
• Fewer production design flaws and better end-products!
Rapid Prototyping − A Quick History
Rapid prototyping systems emerged in 1987 with the introduction of stereolithography technology, a process that solidifies layers of ultraviolet light-sensitive liquid polymer using laser technology. In subsequent years, other rapid prototyping technologies were introduced, such as:
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering and Laminated Object Manufacturing.
The industry's very first 3D rapid prototyping system based on FDM Technology was introduced in April, 1992. Objet introduced the first 3D rapid prototyping systems based on PolyJet technology in April, 2000.
How does Rapid Prototyping Work?
Rapid Prototyping, also known as 3D printing, is an additive manufacturing technology. The process begins with taking a virtual design from modeling or computer aided design (CAD) software. The 3D printing machine reads the data from the CAD drawing and lays down successive layers of liquid, powder, or sheet material − building up the physical model from a series of cross sections. These layers, which correspond to the virtual cross section from the CAD model, are automatically joined together to create the final shape.
Rapid Prototyping uses a standard data interface, implemented as the STL file format, to translate from the CAD software to the 3D prototyping machine. The STL file approximates the shape of a part or assembly using triangular facets.
Typically, Rapid Prototyping systems can produce 3D models within a few hours. Yet, this can vary widely, depending on the type of machine being used and the size and number of models being produced.
FDM - Why FDM?
3D printers that run on FDM Technology build parts layer-by-layer by heating thermoplastic material to a semi-liquid state and extruding it according to computer-controlled paths.
FDM uses two materials to execute a print job: modeling material, which constitutes the finished piece, and support material, which acts as scaffolding. Material filaments are fed from the 3D printer's material bays to the print head, which moves in X and Y coordinates, depositing material to complete each layer before the base moves down the Z axis and the next layer begins.
Once the 3D printer is done building, the user breaks the support material away or dissolves it in detergent and water, and the part is ready to use.
Benefits of FDM
FDM is a clean, simple-to-use, office-friendly 3D printing process. Thermoplastic parts can endure exposure to heat, chemicals, humid or dry environments, and mechanical stress. Soluble support materials make it possible to produce complex geometries and cavities that would be difficult to build with traditional manufacturing methods.
STL - The CAD to STL Process
After designing a model in a CAD program, you save the design as an STL file. (Most CAD programs have this function.) An STL file renders surfaces in the CAD design as a mesh of triangles. The number and size of the triangles determine how accurately curved surfaces are printed. You control the number and size of the triangles by setting the following parameters when you create the STL file from the CAD design:
Chordal Tolerance / Deviation
The maximum distance between the surface of the original design and the tessellated surface of the STL triangle.
The angular deviation allowed between adjacent triangles. This setting enables you to increase tessellation, necessary for surfaces with small radii. (The smaller the radii, the more triangles are needed).
STL File Format
You usually have the option to save STL files in either binary or ASCII format. Binary files are smaller (by a factor of 6!), so this format is usually preferred. However, ASCII files can be visually read and checked.
STL Geometry Check
Model designs containing holes and gaps adversely affect the quality of the printed model. Therefore, you should perform a geometry check of the STL files before continuing. Third party software for this purpose attempts to fix the geometry of problematic files.
Preparing Parts for Printing
You can scale models and arrange them on a virtual build tray for printing, and you can save the build tray as a single file, enabling you to quickly reprint a job.