Rapid Prototyping Laboratory

Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech

Director: Prof. Jan Helge Bøhn

MISSION: To be the preeminent rapid prototyping research laboratory, leading the way in high-speed, high-precision layered manufacturing, advanced materials for rapid prototyping applications, and rapid prototyping education.

Rapid Prototyping Laboratory:
Research Activities
Laboratory Equipment
Industrial & Government Partners
Rapid Prototyping Education

Return to:
The Rapid Prototyping Resource Center
Jan Helge Bøhn
Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech

Revised: February 19, 1998


Research Activities

Improved System Throughput and Accuracy

Realize a sustained 20-40 time speed improvement, with increased surface accuracy, of existing layered manufacturing systems (e.g., stereolithography, fused deposition modeling, and selective laser sintering) through intelligent fabrication strategies (software control).

Fundamentally New Rapid Prototyping Process

Develop radically new rapid prototyping technologies, and the next-generation software methodologies necessary to exploit these new capabilities:

Advanced Materials

Develop high-performance, special-purpose Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) materials:

Geometric Modeling for Engineering Design and Analysis

Laboratory Equipment



Additional Equipment Available for Rapid Prototyping Research

Industrial & Government Partners


Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division

Armstrong Laboratory

Brooks Air Force Base

Stratasys, Inc.

Rapid Prototyping Education

Virginia Tech pioneered rapid prototyping education by being the first university in the world to offer a course dedicated to the topic:

ME 4644 Introduction to Rapid Prototyping
Participants will study topics fundamental to rapid prototyping and automated fabrication, including the generation of suitable CAD models, current rapid prototyping fabrication technologies, their underlying material science, the use of secondary processing, and the imapct of these technologies on society. The rapid prototyping process will be illustrated by the actual design and fabrication of a part. Co: ME 4634 or equivalent CAD system experience.
Offered every spring semester since 1995.
Limited enrollment. Approved as ME Technical Elective. Approved for Graduate Credit.

EF 1005-1006 Introduction to Engineering
Introduction to the College of Engineering and the profession; departmental orientations, professionalism. Problem presentation; lettering, sketching, engineering calculations. Technical library research. Digital computer applications; DOS, word processing, FORTRAN, elementary numerical methods. Engineering graphics; orthographic projection, rotation, conventional practices, computer graphics. For engineering students only. Co: MATH 1205. 1005: (3H,2C); 1006: (3H,3C). I,II,III.
Rapid prototyping was introduced on an experimental basis in EF 1006 during the Spring 1996 semester, using AutoCAD R13 and a FDM 1600 rapid prototyping system.