Rapid prototyping, the rapid conversion of computer designs into physical products, is a valuable tool for design, sales, communication, and limited production. This paper presents an overview which describes various systems of both additive and subtractive rapid prototyping. Computer applications, steps, and formats are introduced. A case study outlines new coursework which has been developed at Mankato State University to teach these basic principles and computer applications. Internet resources are reviewed, including vendors, professional societies, and universities which can help with questions and decisions about rapid prototyping applications.

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