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Feasibility of Using 3D Printed Thermoplastic Molds for Stamp Forming

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Feasibility of Using 3D Printed Thermoplastic Molds for Stamp Forming of Thermoplastic Composites


In this study, feasibility of using a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) manufactured thermoplastic mold to stamp-form thermoplastic composite parts is investigated. The advantages offered by stamp forming of fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites and the use of FDM manufactured thermoplastic molds in stamp forming is discussed. The molds are manufactured using the Stratasys Fortus 900mc. The tradeoffs of using different equipment (closed vs open systems) are discussed. The strength and stiffness, over the forming temperature ranges, required for stampforming operation are used as the criteria to decide suitability of the mold for such operations. Polyetherimide (PEI) is used as the mold material and pre-impregnated tapes of polypropylene (PP) reinforced with glass fiber (GF) is considered as the raw material for the composite part. The mold used has an outer wall and an internal cellular structure with repeating units resembling a plus (+) shape. Other manufacturing geometries with other possible internal cellular structures are also discussed. The air voids occupy the region between the walls of the cellular structure. The effect of the internal cellular structure of the mold on the strength and stiffness is investigated. The strength and stiffness of the cellular structure in different directions under tension, compression and shear loading is evaluated experimentally. These elastic modulus in compression is also obtained from Finite Element modeling of material structure. The values from Finite Element modeling are compared with the values from experiments to check the validity of the model. The maximum size of the mold and hence the part manufactured are limited by the build envelope of the machine. The melting point of thermoplastic material is another limitation imposed to prevent the mold material from reaching its glass transition temperature. The need to overcome these limitations and the potential strategies that can be employed to do so are discussed.


Authors: Sunil Bhandari and Roberto Lopez-Anido


Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim


SKU/Code: TP16-0139


Pages: 15

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