DAYTON, OHIO - An Ohio university consortium will use $2 million in state funds to research rapid prototyping applications for plastics and other materials. The consortium, headed by the University of Dayton, will kick in $300,000 of its own money toward equipment for rapid prototyping study, including three stereolithography machines, a selective laser sintering machine and equipment for laminated object manufacturing, said Allan Light-man, senior research scientist at the school.
The program will target various materials and processes, but a main focus is on creating injection molds for short-run tooling, to cut costs and lead times, Lightman said.
Other goals include introducing rapid prototyping to Ohio industries and developing graduate courses. The equipment will go to various consortium members, including the University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Cin-cinnati and Wright State Univer-sity, which will be linked via computer network to Dayton's rapid prototyping lab.
An industrial advisory board, including representatives from United Technologies Corp. and General Motors Corp., will help direct the group in addressing industry's needs in today's manufacturing environment, Lightman said.
Richard Chartoff, professor of materials engineering at Dayton, said one development area is medical materials. Other research avenues include building microscopic components for microelectronic machines.
The University of Dayton has been studying rapid prototyping since 1988, when it founded the International Conference on Pro-totyping, which draws more than 250 attendees annually. The school already holds about $5 million in state funding for such research, he said.