Rapid prototyping is revolutionizing the design process. With it, less designs are being sent directly, untested, into production. Instead, designs can now be aggressively prototyped to significantly reduce the likelihood of having to correct design errors late in the product life cycle.

This paper reports on a new, experimental first-year graduate-level course that offers the students the opportunity to explore the concept of rapid prototyping and its impact on the design process. The emphasis of the course is to familiarize students with available and forthcoming automated fabrication technologies, that, when combined with secondary processing technologies, facilitate aggressive prototyping as an integral part of the design process. In particular, students are encouraged to compare and contrast the various layered manufacturing technologies and CNC machining with respect to the prototyping needs of a designer.

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