Hello James, and thanks for your question.
The rapid prototype technologies that you?re asking about are one of
the cooler things to have emerged from the confluence of industrial
processes and information-driven hardware and software systems. If
nothing else, you will have an excellent (albeit expensive) new toy
once you secure the SLS or SLA machine that meets your needs.
A company called Wohlers Associates is a leading consulting firm in
the area of rapid prototyping systems. You can visit their website
A few links of particular use are:
which contains a list of SLS/SLA equipment manufacturers that sell
machinery in the U.S., beginning with the aptly-named 3D Systems site
To the best of my knowledge, the 3D Systems processes can create the
metal-based prototypes that are of the most interest to you, using a
material known as LaserForm.
Other companies that appear to have similar capacities regarding metal
However, please explore the capabilities of all the companies listed
at the Wohlers? site, as there are a wide variety of processes and
capabilities in the mix.
Another link at Wohlers to be aware of is this one:
which offers a free copy of the Executive Summary of their rapid
?Wohlers Report 2003 is an in-depth worldwide progress report on the
rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry.
This softbound publication includes advances, developments, trends,
growth estimates, forecasts, analysis, and opinions. It also covers
emerging applications, opportunities, the latest in technology
research and development, and what the future holds.?
I hope this information fully meets your needs. However, if anything
here is unclear -- or if you need additional information -- just let
me know by posting a Request for Clarification, and I?ll be happy to
assist you further.
search strategy: Google search on: ?rapid prototyping? (SLS OR SLA)