Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid Designs is innovatively establishing new levels of achievement in rapid manufacturing, producing finished parts for highly-specialized applications direct from 3D CAD digital input, thus dispensing with the costly and time-consuming process of tool making.

Utilizing recently-developed materials with superior functional characteristics, Rapid Designs engineers apply their mastery of the selective laser sintering process to achieve new plateaus in quality and durability. Parts from rapid manufacturing meet exceedingly demanding specifications in defense-aerospace hardware, homeland security and medical applications.

Benefits of Using Rapid Manufacturing

Manufacturing finished parts direct from digital input is a breakthrough technological advancement. Still in its early stages, rapid manufacturing is coming into increasingly widespread use in specialized technology applications where limited quantities of durable precision components are needed. The benefits of rapid manufacturing include:

  • Eliminating the costly and time-consuming process of tool making by producing parts direct from computer-generated 3D CAD solid models.
  • Users add significant speed and flexibility to their production operations with free form fabrication applying additive manufacturing processes.
  • Designers are freed from traditional manufacturing processes allowing them to create with less restrictions.
  • Finished systems can be completed and deployed faster.
  • Design changes can be implemented with total flexibility at any time, with no wasted inventory of obsolete parts and no lag time for expensive and time-consuming tool changes.

Rapid Designs – A Competitive Advantage with Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid Designs, with its long history of providing models, prototypes and tooling for major systems applications, is ideally positioned for leadership in the rapidly-emerging field of rapid manufacturing. In particular, we are among the foremost experts in the application of selective laser sintering, which is presently the preferred process for rapid manufacturing parts.

SLS is more than a Rapid Prototyping Process – Rapid Manufacturing is the RP paradigm shift

A few Rapid Manufacturing (RM) case studies have been documented since the late 90’s when this break-through in rapid manufacturing first appeared. Beginning with Siemen’s and Phonak’s success in the rapid manufacture SLS hearing aids, these two companies collaborated to develop the SLS process and materials to be the first commercial example of rapid manufacturing on a production scale. Invisalign made headlines using the SLA technology to rapidly manufacturing vacuum form molds for their patented process of teeth alignment therapy. Boeing implemented on-demand rapid manufacturing for the production of non-flight critical hardware on military aircraft.

Rapid Designs has done several engineered Rapid Manufacturing Solutions (eRMS™) for customers. Programs have been fielded for military application using our engineered suite of proprietary processes.

eRMS™ processes have been applied to U.S. Navy and U.S. Army hardware for UAV (un-manned air vehicle) and UUV (un-manned undersea vehicle) systems. These rapid manufacturing projects are in addition to hundreds of rapid prototypes for programs under development by our customers. Rapid manufacturing applications continue to be researched and developed for healthcare and soft tissue organs using bio-modeling technology.

Advancements into this exciting rapid manufacturing technology are being fueled by new materials research and development. Implementation of production quality management systems was initiated in 1999 to meet the growing and changing manufacturing requirements of our clients. A cornerstone to Rapid Designs quality success is the standardization and implementation of materials and process quality assurance at every step of the manufacturing process. Testing by Rapid Designs is performed routinely to insure consistency from build to build, day after day. Our operations run 24/7 to meet on-demand customer production needs. Material certifications and certificates of compliance (COC) are included as standard operating procedure (SOP). Inspection is available at four levels with Level 4 provided as SOP for every order processed. Testing of raw materials and tensile testing on build coupons is performed to measure quality consistency of our end product. Our inspection and metrology lab includes: Instrom tensile testing, coordinate measuring machine (CMM), optical microscope, optical comparator, melt-flow test equipment and a vast array of instruments and test gages. All are tested, calibrated and re-certified annually.

Rapid Designs – Collaborating with our Stakeholders

As early adopters of new technology, rapid manufacturing has emboldened Rapid Designs to research new materials and enhance material property characteristics. Break-through improvements are being achieved through our internal R&D initiatives, collaboration with customers, universities and suppliers. The benefits of laser sintered parts are numerous compared to other RP technology. Solid free form technology affords design freedom and tool-less manufacturing. New innovative “bound-less” design thinking in collaboration with new materials is shifting the manufacturing paradigm.

Industries Served with Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid Designs presently serves a variety of customers in the following industries:

  • Defense
  • Aerospace
  • Homeland-security
  • Medical products

Our rapid manufacturing output features landmark achievements in materials capable of withstanding the demands of high temperature and corrosive environments. The superiority of Rapid Designs rapid manufacturing expertise is evidenced in the recent achievement of meeting the stringent demands of flight-qualified hardware.

Rapid Manufacturing Technology

Selective laser sintering is a revolutionary layering process, in which powdered materials are applied, bonding layer upon layer, using computer-guided lasers to produce the precise configurations defined by the 3D model. Key systems components that have been successfully generated by selective laser sintering include a broad array of direct manufactured components, including undersea sonar array fairings, unmanned aircraft systems hardware and metal investment castings rapidly produced using SLS patterns.

Our Commitment to Quality Assurance

Quality control of all Rapid Designs rapid manufacturing output includes dimensional inspection and materials testing at the production site. The geometry of every part is precisely measured and compared directly to the CAD model.

At Rapid Designs we are committed to quality and superior customer service. We have established several systems to insure our clients the highest value and Return On Customer Trust (RoCT).

Rapid Designs value is defined by the quality of our product, repeatability from part to part, attention to detail, problem solving, researching new materials and processes, investment in technology, experienced technicians and sales associates, rapid quotes, rapid delivery and a superior second-to-none customer service.

We are committed to in-process testing, inspection and measuring our performance. Customer feedback is encouraged and solicited to insure we are constantly improving our processes and business practices.

Materials are tested at each phase beginning with incoming materials. All incoming materials are traceable with supplier lot numbers. Materials are tested and characterized using a proprietary process before each build to insure the polyamide powder blend and performance is consistent with each build. Glass-filled polyamide is custom blended in-house to our exact requirements. Every part shipped is inspected to Rapid Designs minimum standard Level 4 inspection procedure. Material certifications and Certificates of Compliance (COC) are available upon request and in many instances are automatic depending upon application and industry.

Rapid Designs – A Consultative Approach for Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid manufacturing projects generally begin with a consultation, in which engineers confer over specifications and required outcomes to confirm feasibility. Then, customers electronically convey computer-generated 3D CAD solid models to Rapid Designs team of specialists, who integrate the input onto the selective laser sintering platform.

Products & Services

  • SLS Rapid Manufacturing
  • SLS Rapid Prototypes
  • SLS eRMS™
  • SLS eASF™
  • SLS ePAC™
  • SLS CastForm PS Investment Casting Patterns
  • Secondary Machining Operations
  • Custom Surface Finishes and Coatings (see below)


  • Rapid Manufacturing:
    • Aerospace Hardware
    • UAV, UUV, UGV Hardware
    • Medical and Healthcare
    • Electronics; Packaging, Connectors
    • Homeland Security
    • Military Hardware
  • Rapid Prototypes:
    • Functional Proof of Concept Prototypes
    • Design Evaluation Models (form, fit & function)
    • Product Performance & Testing
    • Engineering Design Verification
    • Wind-Tunnel Test Models
  • Tooling and Patterns:
    • Rapid Tooling (concept development & bridge tools)
    • Injection Mold Inserts
    • Tooling and Manufacturing Estimating Visual Aid
    • Investment Casting Patterns
    • Jigs and Fixtures
    • Foundry Patterns – Sand Casting

Secondary Operations & Customized Finishing Processes

  • Precision Machining
  • Threaded Inserts
  • Custom Machined Inserts
  • Surface coatings:
    • Lacquer
    • Water based Urethane
    • Two-part Urethane
    • Epoxy
    • Dip Coatings
    • EMI/RF Shielding
    • Fire Rated Spray Coating
    • UV Rated Spray Coating
  • Plating
    • Nickel plating
    • Vapor Deposition
    • Vacuum Metalizing

Rapid Manufacturing Terminology Note

Currently there is debate in the service provider industry and with customers about the terminology used to describe the technology and the processes. Rapid manufacturing is one popular term. Others include:

Contact Rapid Designs for Rapid Manufacturing

To discuss your Rapid Manufacturing needs or to request a quotation, please contact Rapid Designs.

The possibilities are endless – the future is absolutely unimaginable for the many. For the few the future of Rapid Manufacturing is now!