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In general 3D printers are compact and smaller than RP machines. That's ok. But, what's the difference? 3D printers can be used as RP machine too.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just curious- where did you hear that a 3DP is smaller than a RP machine? The context in which you heard/read it can clarify the question a bit. $\endgroup$ – Daniel M. Feb 2 '16 at 11:53
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All rapid prototyping means is automatically producing a physical part from a cad model. 3D printing is a way to achieve rapid prototyping. There are 2 main methods of rapid prototyping: additive, and subtractive.

A 3D printer is additive- you add materials to an object layer by layer.

Usually, when people talk about a subtractive machine, they are talking about a CNC mill (or lathe), which tend to be extremely large (most are over one ton). You start with all the material there, and you subtract the material that you don't want. This might be what you are thinking of.

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To add to the above answer, a very simple way to say it is that FMD 3d printer is a rapid prototyping machine which has a component called an extruder which pulls and melts plastic which the machine then lays down.

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A sintered metal printer is a version of a 3D printer that is rapid, but expensive. Seen 1 for 800,000$aud Uses laser to melt metal particles like titanium.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Stach Exchange 3D Printing. I am wondering: how is your answer relevant to the question asked? Does it say anything about the difference between a rapid prototyping machine and a 3D printer? If it does, I don't think that comes clear from your answer. Remember that the Stack Exchange sites are not forums, but rather Q&A sites. $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene Feb 17 '16 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ @TormodHaugene it looks like it was an addition to Daniel's answer as LeoErvin did with his answer. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Feb 18 '16 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ @tbm0115, I guess you could be right. Perhaps it would have been better as a comment. :) $\endgroup$ – Tormod Haugene Feb 18 '16 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ @TormodHaugene both probably would :) $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Feb 18 '16 at 13:41

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