The paper presents the development of a generic part orientation system for rapid prototyping by considering the issue of volumetric error encountered in parts during the layer by layer building process in a rapid prototyping (RP) system. An algorithm is developed that slices the part with horizontal planes and computes the volumetric error in the part at different orientations by rotation about user-specified axes. The system recommends the best orientation based on the least amount of volumetric error in the part. The system has been tested using several examples of simple and complex parts. The generic part orientation system is believed to be first of its kind based on a volumetric error approach and will be useful for RP users in creating RP parts with a higher level of accuracy and surface finish, and also for intelligent process planning in rapid prototyping.