If you are using composites to produce your products you are focused on getting the right blend of materials to give you a specific desired outcome or enhanced properties. Properties such as durability, strength, fire resistant, and weight-strength benefits.
With all these and more it is not difficult to see why composites are such a popular choice for manufacturers across many industries.
So, what about the tooling that makes them?
If you are invested in using a superior composite material to produce your parts why would you use a cheap MDF mould or at the other end of the spectrum an expensive metallic tool with 3-4 months lead time?
Is there another option?
3D Printed tooling is here and is happening now. With a 3D printed tool, you can continue the efficiency of the composite part itself with a tool that reduces cost and lead times therefore increasing productivity and turnaround. Music to all our ears.
What do we need to know?
Firstly, a desktop 3D printer is approximately capable of printing up-to 30x30x30cm moulds, so if you were thinking of doing this in-house you are going to have to invest in some serious machinery to get you to the capacity you will need to make larger composite moulds. The good news is that you don’t have to.
What can AMufacture do for us?
AMufacture specialises in composite tooling up to 12x3x2m in size out of three main materials ABS-CF, PSU-CF and PESU-CF. Each material has increasing properties of thermal resistance and coefficient of expansion allowing us to help choose the right material for your project.
The traditional washout tooling process involves toxic chemicals and lots of adhesive mess to contend with. Amufacture now offer a new type of washout tooling that is stable to 280 degrees Celsius with zero expansion and the icing on the cake, it can be washed out quickly with just tap water leaving a non-toxic substance which can be easily disposed of.
All those parts with tricky overhangs, or parts that have been compromised in the design to allow for conventional tooling are a thing of the past.
We introduced our composite tooling service in 2018 and have global clients from the aerospace, boat building, construction, and transportation. If you want to know more about our 3D printed composite tooling process give us a call or message us via our website for an informal chat.
You can also listen to our latest composite tooling case study below on the AMufacture it podcast.