Vol. 9 No.3 June 2001
Rapid Prototype Technology
DRDO has developed a rapid prototyping facility that operates on stereolithography principle. This facility is powered by a solid-state frequency tripled laser. Prototypes are directly prepared by instantaneous laser curing of photoelastic polymer. Computerised digital model of the part is the only input required for the prototyping process. The vertical resolution of the system is 0.0017 mm and the position repeatability is 0.0013 mm. Maximum build envelope is 508 mm x 508 mm x 400 mm in X, Y and Z dimensions. Layer thickness can be varied from 50 microns to 150 microns. The thin layers are laser-cured and laid over each other sequentially, resulting in three-dimensional prototype. Till now, more than 500 parts have been made on rapid prototyping system and are used in diverse fit, form and functional applications. Photoelastic stress analysis, investment casting, flow-visualisation and assembly integration trial are some of the activities into which rapid prototyping has been successfully used. Tremendous cost gains and substantial time advantages offered by this technology have greatly facilitated design evaluation and optimisation studies.