The use of the mould produced with FDM in Prototype Sheet Parts Manufacturing
"We now produce the moulds required for the production of prototype sheet metal parts with FDM method and thus, we both reduce the costs, and earn time."
We usually need the parts made with FDM machines for project validation. We support our team developing vehicle projects with this application. In addition, when multiple plastic parts are needed for the production of prototype vehicles, we produce plastic parts with silicone moulding. The required gauge models for silicone moulding are also obtained with FDM technology.
The sheet metal parts are quite intensively needed in prototype vehicles and projects. Therefore, we have cost, quality and process improvement activities in the production of these parts that constitute the majority of our work. We use many different methods of prototype sheet metal parts production. The intensity of the work sometimes constitutes the idea of maximum degree of utilization of the equipment. Our utilization of the FDM technology in the production of prototype sheet metal parts also emerged from this idea.
We manufactured the sheet metal mould inside the car door using FDM technology with PC (polycarbonate) material. The press of the produced mould and the sheet metal part of FEP04 material and of thickness of 0.7 mm was successfully carried out in hydraulic press. First 100 pieces of parts were pressed and mould and part measurements were carried out. Then, 3 mm chip was removed from the mould surface through milling. Thus, the depth of the form on the mould is increased. 200 more pieces were pressed with the milled mould. In the measurement of 2nd group of pressed pieces, it is seen that the pieces remained within the tolerances. It was observed that a larger number of parts can be produced both in the measurement results and visual controls.
The experiments of drilling holes, threading and milling on the mould needed during the part pressing process were also successfully carried out. These experiments showed us that we have the opportunity to make changes on the mould. Thus, the potential changes during product development can be accomplished by modifying operations on the mould without requiring new moulds.
Finally, obtaining sheet metal parts manufacturing mould with FDM technology has resulted in success. Providing cost and time advantage over other methods, the moulds produced by this method enable successful operation at modifications. It is concluded that the PC moulds produced by FDM technology that performs 300 pieces of sheet metal part pressing successfully can be used for production of prototype sheet metal parts.