Rapid Prototyping in an Integrated Product Development Environment
Abstract: Integrated Product Development, (IPD), is a methodology to allow designers and manufacturing engineers to communicate early in the design phase of a product. One critical new tool to facilitate this early communication of ideas is rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping techniques range from soft prototypes, ie. computer models of product/process design, to actual 3D physical engineering prototypes developed from CAD model data by a variety of techniques. Current “hard” rapid prototyping techniques include Stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering, Laminate Object Manufacturing, and Fused Deposition Modeling. The Air Force is interested in these techniques as a method of risk reduction allowing new product concepts to be investigated earlier in their design phase by all members of an Integrated Product Development Team.