Originally published September 28, 2011

The Rapid Prototyping Center (RPC) at Milwaukee School of Engineering has added the iPro™ 8000 SLA® Precision Center to its array of rapid prototyping machines. MSOE is the only university to own this machine, and also the only university that has a laboratory devoted to all commercially available rapid prototyping systems.

The iPro™ 8000 SLA® Center is a high-productivity, mid-range system that quickly and economically builds parts with unprecedented surface smoothness, feature resolution, edge definition and tolerance that rival the accuracy of CNC-machined parts. It is manufactured by 3D Systems Inc.

Established in 1991, the RPC is a center of excellence within MSOE’s Applied Technology Center™. A joint effort between industry and MSOE, it features a consortium of more than 60 client-members working to reduce product development cycle times and develop products using rapid prototyping technology. The RPC develops functional prototypes with little to no lead time, and offers insight into new manufacturing processes. Leaders in engineering, product development and research engage with the RPC to leverage the wide variety of resources and additive manufacturing processes the center has to offer.

Capabilities available through the RPC include:

  • 3D scanning and reverse-engineering capabilities
  • Prototyping services (form-fit to photo-ready and functional testing)
  • Additive-manufacturing based hybrid manufacturing
  • Advanced casting foundry and other modeling services
  • Materials and component testing and inspection facilities
  • Computer-assisted design services

MSOE’s machines use each of the five leading types of rapid prototyping techniques: stereolithography apparatus (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM) and three dimensional printing (3DP). The RPC has a number of active research activities. Novel fluid power actuators and optimized structures are being developed and licensed by the RPC. The RPC also is actively involved in the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power.

Beyond fluid power applications, the RPC is extending the use of rapid prototyping through research projects as diverse as biomolecular and biomedical modeling, architectural modeling and manufacturing tooling. There is significant activity in novel internally-structured solid objects and advanced high-resolution metal casting. The RPC has in-house laser scanning systems to assist with design verification, first-article inspection and reverse engineering.

MSOE is an independent university that offers 18 bachelor’s degrees and 10 master’s degrees in the engineering, engineering technology, building and infrastructure engineering, health-related engineering, computer, business and nursing fields. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; and extremely high placement rates and starting salaries. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.