Produce carbon fiber parts with 3D printed molds
Replace costly CNC milling with agile, cost-saving solutions for short-run manufacturing. Using BigRep's 3D printer in mold making saves time, is up to 5x cheaper and enables agile iterations.
Manufacturing carbon fiber reinforced components using additive manufacturing.
Large patterns and molds are expensive, lengthy to manufacture, and complex shapes may not be feasible. Typical CNC milling of molds wastes material and design iterations are expensive and time consuming. Additive manufacturing can play a major role in producing high-quality carbon-fiber-reinforced parts while reducing costs and lead times. BigRep machines provide cost-saving solutions for manufacturing large-format carbon fiber molds.
Airflight uses prepreg carbon fiber components to build human-sized drones. Watch the video below to see how Airflight uses BigRep machines to produce carbon fiber reinforced parts quickly and cost-effectively with 3D-printed molds
Two Methods of 3D Printing for Carbon Fiber Mold Making
3D printing the mold
If the design of the part needs further development, the part is intended for low-volume production, or the carbon fiber prepreg requires lower temperature/pressure resistance, 3D printing the mold is recommended.
The mold is 3D printed and finished to the required surface quality. If necessary, the mold can be provided with openings for filling reinforcing material so that the mold can withstand the pressure in the autoclave. The carbon fiber prepreg is placed in the mold, placed in a vacuum bag, and cured in an autoclave under the required temperature and pressure settings.
3D printing the model
When the part design is complete, the part is intended for volume production, or the carbon fiber prepreg requires higher temperature/pressure resistance, 3D printing of a model is recommended.
The model is 3D printed and post-processed to the required surface quality. A mold is then made from the model, typically using fiberglass or high-temperature epoxy molding paste. The carbon fiber prepreg is placed in the mold, placed in a vacuum bag and cured in an autoclave at the required temperature and pressure settings.
"BigRep allowed us to do iterations of large carbon fiber parts 5x cheaper than with standard CNC milling. With one machine, we can make prototypes, molds, fixtures and supports."
Mikkel Kærsgaard Sørensen,
Technical Director and Co-Founder of Airflight.
Want to learn more? Visit us at booth B1041 / hall 1 or contact us!