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Composite Lay-Up Tooling

3D printing molds and patterns

3D printed patterns and molds can withstand the heat and pressure of composite lay-up processes. As an alternative to CNC milling or manual techniques, 3D printing directly from CAD data saves time and cost while improving accuracy.

High production costs, low accuracy

Fiber Layup Pattern

Because custom composite parts usually rely on expensive handcrafted or CNC-machined molds, they are incredibly expensive to produce. A handmade mold is crafted much like the composite part itself: by layering resin–impregnated fabrics on top of a master model, curing the mold and removing the master to produce the cavity. This labor-intensive process requires a high degree of skill, and a long, iterative process to adjust the mold to specifications.

Because both the part and the mold expand while curing, final dimensions are especially difficult to predict. While machined molds can achieve better accuracy, CNC machining adds considerable time and cost to production.

What's possible with Stratasys:

Improve accuracy while eliminating the time-consuming, iterative work of fine-tuning molds.

Go from design to finished part in days instead of months by eliminating slow, expensive fabrication processes.

Build strong and dimensionally stable tooling that can withstand rough handing and autoclaving.

Reduce weight with the freedom to produce complex, topologically optimized shapes without adding cost.

Produce complex, hollow parts with soluble materials developed specifically for sacrificial tooling.

Why Stratasys 3D Printing?

PolyJet Technology

  • Smooth surfaces for mold masters
  • High-temperature materials to withstand curing
  • Layer resolution as fine as 14 microns (0.00055 in.)

FDM Technology

  • Strong, heat-resistant thermoplastics that withstand autoclave curing and rough handling
  • Heat-resistant and dimensionally stable sacrificial material for complex, hollow shapes
  • Great accuracy and layer resolution as fine as 127 microns (0.005 in.).

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing

  • On-demand access to a range of traditional and additive technologies
  • Expertise in a broad scope of manufacturing processes
  • Great for one-off parts, overflow work or evaluating technologies

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