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What are the Common Types of Rapid Manufacturing?

by mtelec

The concept of rapid manufacturing effect has taken the manufacturing industry by Storm. Initially, there were various methods which could achieve the same result as rapid manufacturing. But the addictive effect of various types of rapid manufacturing that yield more detailed end products makes RM the ideal manufacturing process. RM is an abbreviation for rapid manufacturing.

The rapid manufacturing effect, elicits a higher accuracy. The geometrical accuracy of the fabricated products is difficult to replicate. Let us find out how the various types of rapid manufacturing processes achieve this effect.

What is Rapid Manufacturing?

Rapid manufacturing process could simply be defined as a method of fabricating physical components to manufacture either some parts of a product or the product as a whole. Rapid manufacturing is also referred to as rapid prototyping. This is because it was initially used only in the manufacture of prototypes. But it is much more beyond that now. It mostly employs an additive effect. This means that its fabrication is carried out in layers.

Most common types of rapid manufacturing techniques

Note that, the rapid manufacturing technique is an additive one. This means that it functions majorly by layering its special “ink” to formulate the end product. We will discuss four major types of Rapid manufacturing or prototyping.

  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): This particular method could be employed for both plastic as well as metal prototyping processes. Selective laser sintering functions via a powder bed which is used to build the desired prototype layer by layer. A laser is used to heat and sinter the selected powdered materials.
  • Stereolithography: This method is known in short as SLA was the very first method employed after the commercialization of 3D printing. It functions through the use of photosensitive liquids which are seemingly presented or stored in a bath. Making use of computer-controlled ultraviolet or UV lights, the photosensitive liquid is made to solidify one layer at a time.
  • Selective Laser Melting: This method is somewhat more advanced than the rest. Selective laser melting (SLM for short) is more of a gem when used in the formation of complex parts that are required to be extremely durable. This is why it is majorly used in the automobile, aerospace, military, medical as well as other Fields that require complex but durable structural components. The powder bed here is filled with extremely fine metal powder which is eventually melted layer by layer. The metal powder could be aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, etc. The melting is carried out using an electron Beam or a high-powered laser.
  • Fused Deposition Modeling: also known as FDM, this method is relatively cheap and easy to use. In an industrial setting, the FDM would most likely be an ideal choice for 3D printing. The printer makes use of thermoplastic filaments which the printing nozzle lays down layer by layer. The layering continues until the model is finished.


In summary, the various types of rapid manufacturing all make use of layering or additive effects. The difference is all in the mechanism of operation, as well as “ink” being used. If you want to know more, there is a site that shares knowledge involved.

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