RPBloX rapid prototyping - More than just layers

T. Lim, J. M. Ritchie, J. Corney, B. J. Davies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (RP&M) technologies are increasingly being applied to produce functional prototypes and directly manufacture small batches of components (where the "prototype" is itself the final product). Although there are various forms of RP&M, almost all rely on a layered manufacturing approach. However despite the flexibility of these systems, they have common drawbacks such as slow build rates, a limited number of build axes (typically one) and the need for post processing, i.e. removal of support structures and finishing. This paper reports the preliminary research that aims to combine sophisticated CAM software and automated assembly technologies to demonstrate that a non-layered method of RP can be engineered. The system under development is referred to as RPBloX. This novel technique has the potential to not only supplement current RP techniques but also act as a standalone method in which products can be brought to market within a shorter design-manufacture cycle time. Essentially, the RPBloX methodology involves a cellular approach to building up a part. Rather than slicing up the CAD model into numerous thin sheets, RPBloX segments the model into 3D cells (or Bloxes) of varying sizes. In contrast to current RP technology, conventional machine tools such as CNC machines and robots are employed for manufacturing and assembly work. Consequently, production costs could be significantly reduced without the forfeiting accuracy and timeliness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Event7th Design for Manufacturing Conference - Montreal, Que., Canada
Duration: 29 Sept 20022 Oct 2002


Conference7th Design for Manufacturing Conference
CityMontreal, Que.


  • Cellular topology
  • Graph theory
  • Manufacturing and Assembly planning
  • Rapid prototyping


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