Rapidtech 2


Report on RapidTech Practicum by Jason M.


Tour courtesy of Ed Tackett, RapidTech Director

MAE165 • Prof. Marc Madou • 24 May 2010


RapidTech is an educational entity that is part of Saddleback College and partially funded by the National Science Foundation. The National Center assists businesses, educational institutions, entrepreneurs and community-based organizations develop new products and designs using innovative rapid prototyping technologies, additive manufacturing, and reverse engineering.

Primary Capabilities:

• Product development

• Early Stage Concept models

• Reverse engineering

• Rapid prototyping

• Additive manufacturing

Much of RapidTech’s lab equipment is donated by Sony


Stereolithography: SLA-250/50

• A vat of liquid UV-curable resin is scanned by a laser in the same manner as a laser printer

• The laser draws cross sections of the part to be machined, building the part one layer at a time

• Computer controlled, accepts CAD drawings

• Build size: 10x10x10

• Materials: Polypropylene (Machine 1), ABS grey plastic (Machine 2)


Stereolithography: SCS-8000

• A larger version of the SCS-250/50

• Build size: 24x19x12

• Produces parts in clear ABS plastic

• Worth $700k, donated by Sony


Selective Laser Sintering: DTM Sinterstation 2000

• High power laser fuses small particles of plastic to form parts

• Airlocked build chamber, filled with low pressure nitrogen flow

• Build size: 12x12 cylinder

• Material: Nylon 11

• Rated to produce aircraft-quality parts

Laser lens


Digital Light Projector: EnvisionTec Perfactory

• Digitally projected UV light cures photosensitive resin in a similar manner as stereolithography

• Build size: 3x4x73

• Material: Various

• Build speed up to 1’’/hour

• Networks with computers

• Described as “a pain in the butt”, yet capable of doing “some really cool things” by Ed Tackett


Laser Cutter/Engraver: Pinnacle M-25

• Build size: 24x18

• Materials: Various

• Cuts from 0.01 to 42 inch/sec

• Up to 1000 dpi resolution

• Accuracy up to 0.005’’

• Glass shield burnt away by student who tried to engrave flammable material


Vacuum Forming: Compact MIDI 320

• Build size: 18x18

• Maximum depth of 6’’

• Materials: Any type of plastic

• Ceramic heater (right) slides over vacuum forming chamber

• Used by RapidTech to create models for medical facial reconstruction


Laser Scanning: NextEngine

• Used for modeling detailed or organic objects that are too complex to recreate accurately with CAD

• Measures laser time of flight to determine exact position of roughly 1 million points on the surface of the object

• Rotating table makes sure object is scanned from all angels


RapidTech is a educational entity funded by the National Science

Foundation and assists businesses, educational institutions, entrepreneurs and community-based organizations in taking advantage of additive manufacturing technology. Equipment is donated, and repair/upkeep is funded by private contributions.

Future Plans

RapidTech plans on moving to UC Irvine in order to expand its facilities, which are currently limited to one small building on the Saddleback campus.

More Information

For more information on RapidTech’s goals and capabilities, and for a full listing of available equipment, visit the website at www.RapidTech.org