Application Brief – FDM 3D Printed Thermoform Tooling
Thermoforming is a manufacturing process for shaping thermoplastic sheets or films over a mold through the application of heat and pressure.Read More
Using 3D printed technology you can quickly manufacture low-cost thermoforming tools on-demand
Experience reduced lead times as FDM thermoforming allows you to build tools in hours or days instead of weeks or months. Quick design changes in CAD gives you fast customization options as you eliminate secondary machining operations needed to incorporate vacuum features. The inherent porosity of FDM thermoform tooling eliminates the need to machine vacuum holes in the tool. This process also features increased tool complexity as you can build as much or as little in your print as needed such as variable wall thickness and other features to reduce thermal mass and gradients.
Virtually any thermoplastic available as extruded sheet stock may be used to thermoform prototypes or manufactured parts. Wall thicknesses can range from foils to thick-gauge stock with no molding stresses to combat. Traditionally, tooling requires large production operations and are timely and costly to run. With 3D printing, as the suitable alternative, manufacturers can take advantage of short-run manufacturing and prototyping with tool life ranging from 100 to 1,000 parts.
The Hager Group, a company specializing in energy management and home automation systems, use additive manufacturing (3D printing) to improve its manufacturing processes, cut costs, and increase innovation and market responsiveness. Read about how they leveraged Stratasys FDM technology to produce advanced tooling.