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From Science Fiction to Reality, Rapid Prototyping in the Vermont FabLab

OK, so you've got a product idea, but you need to build one in order to show potential investors or customers how it will work before you invest a lot of time and/or money into the idea.  You need some feedback in order to make improvements before you begin mass production.  What do you do?

Wouldn't it be nice if you had a 'Replicator' like that found in the science fiction series, 'Star Trek'?  Well, it just so happens that you do, sort of...  It won't make you a cup of, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot”, but it will print your idea, in 3D, from a drawing you provide.

That's right.  If you can draw your idea, then there is a replicator you can use at UVM to literally print a 3D version of your idea such that you can hold it in your hand, manipulate moving parts, make improvements, and demonstrate the design and functionality to your potential investors and/or customers.

In addition to printing 3D objects, you can also use UVM's new high tech, high speed, high power laser for blasting your arch nemesis, ...oops, um... for cutting and etching materials with great precision, from artwork to intricate metal components, again from a drawing you provide.

Once you have a 3D object, Harvey Allard will demonstrate how to make a silicone mold of that object which you can then use for small volume production or fabricating your prototype out of alternative plastic materials. And, if all of the above still sounds like it's beyond your skill level, Tobey Clark from UVM's Instrument and Modeling Facility (IMF) will be there to take you on a tour of their advanced rapid prototyping shop and discuss the fee for services they provide.

So, if you're interested in learning more about rapid prototyping, lasers, replicators and other fascinating technologies that are available for public use in the Vermont at UVM, then join us in the holodeck (Perkins, Room 101) on Thursday, May 10 at 7:00 PM, for a fascinating presentation and demonstrations by Vermont Fab Lab members John Cohn and Jeff Frolik.

For more information on 3D Printing, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing
For more information on Laser Etching, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_etching
For more information on Rapid Prototyping, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_prototyping

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