Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech
Prof. Jan Helge Bøhn
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:
Revised: February 19, 1998
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).
- Estimated peak speed improvement potential with sustained geometric
accuracy: 120 times faster than current commercial methods.
- Current results: 500% increase in actual fabrication speed of
fused deposition modeling (FDM 1600) has been demonstrated without
reducing part surface quality.
Sabourin, "Adaptive High-Precision Exterior, High-Speed Interior, Layered
Manufacturing," M.S. thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, February 1996.
- E. Sabourin, S. A. Houser, and J. H. Bøhn, "Adaptive Slicing
Using Stepwise Uniform Refinement," Rapid Prototyping Journal,
vol. 2, no. 4, 1996, pp. 20-26.
- E. Sabourin, S. A. Houser, and J. H. Bøhn, "Accurate Exterior,
Fast Interior Layered Manufacturing," Rapid Prototyping Journal
vol. 3, no. 2, 1997, pp. 44-52.
Fundamentally New Rapid Prototyping Process
Develop radically new rapid prototyping technologies, and the
next-generation software methodologies necessary to exploit these new
Develop high-performance, special-purpose Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Geometric Modeling for Engineering Design and Analysis
- Development of high-speed, high-accuracy analysis technologies for casting
(e.g., shrinkage, solidification) and metal-ceramic brazing.
- Fabrication and manipulation of CAD models extracted from industrial
and medical imaging systems (e.g., MRI and CT data):
- Fabrication of parts directly from scanned data without
intermediate CAD models, to provide more accurate parts with
- Visualization applications:
- FDM 1600 rapid prototyping system
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) from
Builds parts using ABS plastic, nylon, or investment casting wax.
- 3000 VA Uninterruptible Power Supply (APC Smart-UPS 3000 NET)
Provides continuous power for FDM 1600 and SGI Octane.
- Vacuum Oven (Fisher Scientific 282A oven, Edwards E2M2 2cfm pump)
For drying materials prior to use; provides consistent, superior part
- SGI Octane workstation
IRIX 6.4, 128 MB RAM, 728 MB swap, 22 GB hard disk
SI graphics: 1.26 M triangles/sec,
195 MHz R10000, SPEC-95: int=11.0, fp=17.0
- HP 735 workstation
HP-UX 9.03, 288 MB RAM, 600 MB swap, 3 GB hard disk, 4mm DAT (2 GB)
CRX24 graphics: 0.175 M triangles/sec,
99 MHz PA-RISC 7100, SPEC-95: int=3.27, fp=3.98
- Additional disk space
2 GB reserved on VT CAD Laboratory server.
- Automatic CAD model repair utilities
- Stratasys: QuickSlice 6.0
- SDRC: I-DEAS Master Series 6.0
- PTC: Pro/ENGINEER
- Dassault: CATIA
Additional Equipment Available for Rapid Prototyping Research
Tech Computer Aided Design Laboratory
- IBM RS/6000 model 980 server
512 MB RAM, 25 GB hard disk.
- 18 IBM RS/6000 model 41W workstations
128 MB RAM, 4 GB hard disk, 24-bit Gt4xi graphics.
- Chemical Engineering Laboratories
- Complete materials fabrication and processing analysis
- Materials Science and Engineering Laboratories
- Complete materials characterization capabilities.
Industrial & Government Partners
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:
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