Rapid prototyping, Cad, Computer simulation, and Robotics
Rapid Prototyping is a relatively recent technique to produce component prototypes for industry in a much shorter period of time, since the time to market a product is essential to its success. A new Rapid Prototyping process which uses metal as the raw material had been under development at Cranfield University in the last few years. The process uses a Gas Metal Arc fusion welding robot which deposits successive layers of metal in such way that it forms a 3D solid component. Firstly, a CAD system is used to draw the solid model, then some information relative to the types of layers and dimensions is incorporated in the model and the solid model is then automatically sliced. Reports on the welding time and conditions for the component’s production are automatically generated as well as the robot program. The concept of this Rapid Prototyping process is deeply explained in this paper. Every step of the process is described by a full chart. The Hardware and Software used in this system are also described. Since a computer model is used a calibration of the system is required and therefore the most important aspects of Robot and Cell Calibration are also discussed.