A Hybrid Manufacturing Approach For Low Volume High Temperature Thermoplastic / Thermoset Material Molds
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The mold costs for low volume production molds can be expensive due to the mold material, the process planning time, and the fabrication costs. The focus of this research is to develop a methodology to fabricate molds for low volume production, where the production quantities vary between 1 – 200 components. For this application, the cycle time is not an issue. Employing an additive manufacturing solution could reduce the required amount of materials and the processing planning costs, but there are cost, or technology feasibility issues related to constructing a mold directly from a CAD file. Consequently, a hybrid manufacturing approach is taken where an AM process (material extrusion based) is used to create a sacrificial pattern for specialty, low cost, interchangeable inserts manufactured using an epoxy (Aremco 805). An over molding case study is carried out using a high temperature molding material - Technomelt-PA 7846 black. The pattern, insert, coating, and mold fabrication is discussed, as well as the initial results. The initial material cost estimates to fabricate this over molding solution is approximately $140 US. The durability of the RTV coating and the inserts needs to be determined to yield the final solution costs.