Rapid prototyping is the process of turning math and chemistry into a physical item. Well, that is our extremely dumbed-down explanation, because the real explanation is soaring hundreds of feet over our heads. Still, it's a process that is used rather extensively in the automotive industry because it allows engineers and product development teams to quickly produce a part from scratch, and then see how it would fit on an actual car.

Translogic, along with host Bradley Hasemeyer, ventured to Michigan to visit with General Motors at its Warren Tech Center. Inside, Hasemeyer was able to get up close and personal with the rapid prototyping process, and GM even minted the Translogic crew a special rapidly made item to take with them.

Click past the jump to watch the video and learn more about rapid prototyping.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vladymyr Martsinkovs
      • 4 Years Ago
      This show is awesome!
      • 4 Years Ago
      We have one of the older rapid prototyping machines at my college and it's really cool. If only we could play around with one of these! Incredibly expensive though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One has to ponder for a moment if this kind of technology will put China out of business. If you are familiar with GM inventory, then you know that many of their plastic parts are made in China. Just think if there were rapid parts building devices like this all over the US that could make replacement parts on the spot! I know that's a ways off yet, but the potential is quite impressive to think about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        3D printers are never going to replace injection molding. Its just not going to happen. 3D printers will get faster and cheaper, but they are still many orders of magnitude slower and more expensive (at least the parts made from them are, not necessarily the cost difference between machines). You can inject plastic into a mold and gets parts out in literally seconds, while even the fastest 3D printers can still take hours to make a part. Also you are missing the white elephant in the room - say by some magical advancement 3D printers got more competitive in terms of cost. Well what's stopping these companies from simply shipping the printers over to China and just printing the parts there instead?? Or even worse - making the printers themselves in China and completely sidestep the US. Don't get me wrong, 3D printers are awesome - heck, I even own one - but there are definitely some big limitations with the technology.
          • 4 Years Ago
          You bring up some very valid points, but since I don't think anybody has thought about using this technology to produce replacement parts or parts on the fly. Maybe this kind of technology will replace injection molding, which is also very expensive unless it is on a mass scale due to the high cost of tool and die. I too have used this kind of rapid prototyping. I had a company in CA make some prototype parts for me, only to have UPS destroy the pieces in shipping.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Stereo-Lithography Apparatus...say that five times fast lol...very cool stuff though (:
    • Load More Comments