3D Printing

The bad news is that the 3D printed master flexed out of shape when a vacuum bag was applied to infuse the carbon fiber tool laminate with high temp epoxy resin. When cost for a much thicker and stiffer 3D printed master model was calculated, the decision was made to go back with traditional CNC machined tooling board materials.

Other potential issues with 3D printed master models and tools are:

Secondary finishing

Almost all 3D printed master models and tooling require extensive hand finishing prior to use. Make sure you allow for this extra labor in job cost.

Vacuum integrity

Some 3D printing processes result in masters and tools which will not hold vacuum. These then need to be sealed with a variety of products. More cost.

Fiber loading and CTE

The minimum standard in any high performance composites application is a 50% or greater continuous reinforcement fiber to resin ratio. Lower ratios or use of chopped strand fiber adds weight, increases CTE and reduces strength.
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