Stratasys Releases Free White Paper on Using FDM 3D Printing to Make Thermoforming Tools

Share this Article

One of the most well-known companies in the 3D printing industry, Stratasys, can call itself a leader for good reason – the company definitely knows what it’s talking about in terms of the latest additive manufacturing innovations, many of which Stratasys itself introduces.

Stratasys wants to make sure that it is sharing its expertise with the rest of the world, and published a brand new whitepaper on 3DPrint.com earlier this week.

This new whitepaper, titled “Take Advantage of the Multiple Benefits FDM Thermoform Tooling Offers,” is an FDM thermoforming design guide, and takes an in-depth look at using FDM 3D printing technology to manufacture thermoform tooling.

The description for the whitepaper reads, “Fast, cost­‐efficient tool creation makes low‐volume production economical and quick customization easily viable, without sacrificing design complexity. Learn how to create FDM thermoform tooling with our comprehensive Design Guide.”

An ULTEM 9085 resin tool (left) is recommended for materials being formed over 360 °F (182 °C), such as Kydex.

Thermoforming is a manufacturing process that uses heat and pressure to bring a thermoplastic sheet or film to a pliable forming temperature. The sheet is clamped and heated to what’s known as the sag point, then formed into a specific shape inside a mold, and finally trimmed to create a usable product. The temperature needs to be high enough that the sheet can be stretched onto, or into, a mold, before it’s cooled to the final shape.

Traditionally, tooling for thermoforming has been made from materials like cast aluminum, machined aluminum billet, and even wood. However, these methods are expensive and can take a long time, which is why many thermoform part manufacturers are looking for better solutions to low- to moderate-quantity production runs. That’s where Stratasys’ FDM technology comes into play.

The technical design guide in the new whitepaper describes the procedures and techniques for designing, processing, manufacturing, and post-processing thermoform tooling using FDM 3D printing. Stratasys engineers investigated if it was feasible to lower lead times, material waste, and tooling costs by 3D printing thermoforming tools, and completed a series of lifecycle testing with ABS and Kydex thermoforming materials formed over 3D printed tools.

When the engineers paired these materials with 3D printing ones, such as polycarbonate, ABS, and ULTEM 9085 resin, they gained a more clear understanding of, as the whitepaper puts it, “the design criteria needed to meet specific application needs from various industries such as aerospace and automotive.”

Stratasys also assessed the six main drivers of AM technology to see just how well it can improve thermoform tooling:

  • Economic Low-Volume Production
  • Life Cycle Sustainability
  • Increased Part Functionality
  • Supply Chain Realignment
  • Cost Effective Product Customization
  • Increased Product Complexity

The new Stratasys whitepaper concludes that FDM thermoform tooling is a simpler, less expensive way to produce low-volume thermoformed parts. If you are interested in learning more about about how Stratasys’ FDM technology can enable more design freedom and other benefits in the thermoforming industry, you can download the whitepaper for free here.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

[Images: Stratasys]

 

Share this Article


Recent News

MX3D Uses Robot Arm to Make 3D Printed Robot Arm, Installs It on Robot

3DTrust Releases Intelligent Powder Management Solution for Quality Control



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D printed automobiles

3D Printed Food


You May Also Like

Using Ultrasonic Waves to Analyze Residual Stress in 3D Printed Metal Parts

Researchers from the Czech Republic and Brazil have come together to highlight ultrasonic testing for stress analysis in ‘Residual stress analysis of additive manufacturing of metallic parts using ultrasonic waves:...

Velo3D Secures Further $12M in Funding for Metal 3D Printing

After already securing $28 million in a series-D round of investment just this April, Velo3D has announced an additional $12 million in funding for the series. This brings the total...

3D Systems Streamlines Software for Reverse Engineering

3D Systems has announced the latest versions of its Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Wrap  software, this time claiming “first-to-market capabilities” for streamlining workflows and improving design precision. New features...

3D Printing News Briefs: May 12, 2020 Nanofabrica, Voxeljet, Elementum, AMPOWER

We’re all business today in 3D Printing News Briefs – Nanofabrica has raised $4 million in funding, and voxeljet is expanding its presence in India. Elementum 3D has achieved an...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.