The Most Important Invention for Every Engineer

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By Samr El Arby

In this Blog I would like to highlight the importance of something no engineer could live without these days. It doesn’t matter if you are a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer or a biomedical engineer. Without this technology we wouldn’t have improved as much as we have the last years. I am talking about Rapid Prototyping. First of all, 3D printing is a comparatively a new invention, because the first time rapid prototyping became available was in the late 1980s.

Before I explain why I think that rapid prototyping is the future I’d like to explain how it actually works. This technology is an additive process, which means that this process builds an object by joining particles or layers of raw material. If you have already created an object or a prototype on SolidWorks or another CAD Software, you can hold it for a few minutes in your hands, because rapid prototyping doesn’t need as much time as other techniques do. Some 3D printers work with high quality lasers and others work only with a print-head; in both cases your prototype would be finished in a very short time compared to other techniques. The only thing which varies is the level of quality and, in this case, I would recommend the laser-prototyping because it’s precise and it can also work with metals.

As a mechanical engineer I know how hard the post processing could be and how much time it could take if the wrong process is chosen, but with rapid prototyping we are creating new designs in a shorter time with a higher quality and with less money. There is one particular thing which always fascinates me when it comes to 3D printing: when you start creating an ordinary ball, for example. With the technology of rapid prototyping, we are able to build another ball inside the bigger ball without even having to close the first ball with welding or gluing, because it is already built that way.

Another point which I find very interesting is that my own 3D printer could hypothetically build itself again and again. Just think how many opportunities this technology is giving us. And because of all those factors, I think that rapid prototyping is the future.

Samr El Arby

Student at Technikum Wien University

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