3D Printing Manufacturing Aids for Secondary Processes of Composite Fabrication Using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
The advanced composites industry continues to lead the adoption of additive manufacturing for composite mold tooling that can meet demanding cure cycle requirements. As this adoption continues to grow, so does the awareness of the benefits of technologies such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) from Stratasys for the wide range of ancillary tooling required for the many secondary processes associated with composite part fabrication. The less demanding performance (temperature, pressure) requirements for these tools mean that highly effective drill and trim guides, CNC machining fixtures, inspection and assembly fixtures, and more can be printed in a matter of hours vs. weeks or months for traditional methods and typically at a fraction of the cost. This can greatly improve operational efficiencies due to the dramatic reduction in lead time and supply chain simplification. These tools also tend to be far lighter than conventional tooling, which often eliminates the need for a forklift or crane, and can be customized to fit the ergonomics of the operator. This paper will discuss the methods of designing, printing, and implementing (as well as performance characterization for) ancillary tooling for composite part fabrication.
Author: David Dahl
Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017