Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
Office of Automotive Engineering



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image of model built in ABS plastic

Rapid prototyping of cylinder head post system built in ABS plastic


image of tool created by rapid prototyping technologies

Rapid prototyping technologies can also be used to speed up the time to create production tooling, machining, and assembly fixtures.


image of tool

Properly used, rapid prototypes can substantially improve total time to market and product development costs.

Rapid prototyping (RP) provides an easily understood visual reference that aids in communicating ideas between engineers. RP can also be used to create production-intent hardware suitable for development testing.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in-house rapid prototyping capabilities include direct computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining and a fused deposition modeler (FDM) machine that builds models in ABS plastic. Because parts are created in segments and glued together, almost any size can be built. A selective laser sintering (SLS) machine is also available to model in different materials at higher speeds.

Why Use Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping technologies can also be used to speed up the time to create production tooling, machining, and assembly fixtures, as well as quality inspection jigs and fixtures. Also, the direct translation of data from the solid model environment to the final part eliminates the risk of misinterpretation of 2-D drawings.

Properly used, rapid prototypes can substantially improve total time to market and product development costs, and SwRI engineers have the experience to make it happen.

Learn more about rapid prototyping at SwRI.

Related Terminology

engine  •  engines  •  engine design  •  concept design  •  engine prototype  •  rapid prototype  •  rapid prototyping  •  design analysis"

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.
05/14/14