PAPER MAKING WAY FOR PLASTIC IN HELISYS PROTOTYPING SYSTEM

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TORRANCE, CALIF. — Helisys Inc., a Torrance manufacturer of machinery and materials for rapid prototyping, recently shipped the first of its new model of laser object manufacturing machines, the 2030H.

The company also plans to introduce the use of plastic material with its prototyping systems in March. Plastic will provide greater durability and stability, making the prototypes more readily adaptable for sand casting and rigorous function testing, the company said.

``Plastic prototypes will be developed using our patented LOM process to bond sheets of plastic rather than paper with comparable speed and efficiency as our current paper-based prototype products,'' said Michael Feygin, Helisys' chairman and chief executive officer.

Sung Pak, manager of research and development for Helisys, developed the material, which consists of thin sheets of polyester adhered together in layers, with a combined thickness between the adhesive and the face stock of about 0.005 inch. The new material has two advantages over the paper.

``One advantage is added lamination strength and the sheet strength itself,'' Pak said. ``The adhesive that we have applied [to bond the sheets] is stronger than the paper adhesive. And it allows us to do more rigorous functional testing than with paper.''

The polyester is also moisture-resistant.

Helisys' Pak said all existing LOM equipment made by Helisys is adaptable to the plastic.