Rapid Tooling and Types of Rapid Tooling

Since produced in the late 1980s in the United States, RT tooling has rapidly developed and widely used in the whole industry, making it in a prosperous stage of development. Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing technology, if stays in the prototype production, will not form an impact to the manufacturing. The prototype of Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing technology in many cases is not a substitute for the final real product due to its materials used.

Rapid Tooling

In order to obtain products produced by real materials and form a certain amount of production capacity, Rapid Tooling (RP Tooling) comes into being based on Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing technology. In order to play a greater advantage of RPM technology, it must form a certain amount of rapid manufacturing capacity, therefore, Rapid Tooling, which is based on RPM rapid die technology, is now in rapid developing.

RT tooling is characterized by its significant economic benefits, which reduces about 10%-30% when compared with the traditional CNC machining.

Types of Rapid Tooling

There are two types of rapid tooling based manufacturing methods: direct rapid tooling and indirect rapid tooling.

Direct rapid tooling uses RT tooling to produce molds directly. Among the methods and types of rapid tooling, selective laser sintering, which is short for SLS, can directly produce the metal mold. Steel and copper alloy injection mold manufactured by direct rapid tooling can be used up to 50,000 or more. However, in the sintering process, materials shrink and it is difficult to control, making it hard to get high precision mold quickly. At present, the major type of rapid tooling is indirect rapid tooling. And, according to the different materials, indirect rapid tooling can be generally divided into Soft Tooling and Hard Tooling.

KAIAO Rapid Tooling

KAIAO Rapid Manufacturing Co.,Limited specialises in rapid prototyping like rp tooling and always offers customers the best parts with high accurate in short time with low cost because of decades of experiences and always full advantages of rapid CNC machining, RIM, RT tooling taken. Both plastic prototypes and metal molds are be easily handled by KAIAO. If you are interested in RP tooling to make your next project, feel free to contact KAIAO for a free quote.

A better way to produce hundreds of thousands of pieces

The number of products soft tooling can produce is generally 50-5000 pieces, for tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of products, we still need the traditional steel moulds. Hard tooling refers to the steel mold. The main methods using RPM prototype for steel moulding here in KAIAO are as follows: investment casting, Spark Erosion Machining , ceramic-type precision casting.

Below we will also show you a brief introduction to those methods and its basic process as well as the advantages and suitable projects. If you are interested in using those as your next project, KAIAO, as one of the top hard tooling companies in China, will surely be your top choice. Feel free to contact KAIAO here for a free quote.

Spark Erosion Machining

Spark Erosion Machining uses RPM prototype to produce EDM electrode, and then produce steel mold by spark erosion machining, the basic process is generally as follows: RPM prototype-three-dimensional wheel-graphite electrode-steel mold.

Investment Casting

Investment Casting can be used in the mass production of steel moulds, which uses the RPM prototype or soft tooling based prototype to produce wax patterns and then use the investment casting process to produce steel mold. Almost all RPM prototypes can be used as a die for precision casting.


Ceramic Precision Casting

For single or low volume production of steel mold, we can use Ceramic Precision Casting. The process is: RPM prototype as the mother mold-dip ceramic mortar- solidify mold shell in the roasting furnace -burn the mother mold-preheat mold-pouring steel mold cavity-cavity surface polishing.

What is SLA Rapid Prototyping and Stereo lithography Advantages and Disadvantages

Rapid prototyping is a new technology integrating Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing(CAM), Computer Numerical Control (CNC), precision servo drive and new materials. There are a number of technologies used in rapid prototype including Stereo Lithography, Vacuum Casting, Reaction Injection Molding, Fused Deposition Modeling, Selected Laser Sintering, Laminated Object Manufacturing. Among those technologies, Stereo lithography is the earliest, most mature and most widely used rapid prototyping technology and what are stereolithography advantages and disadvantages?

What is Stereo lithography?

Stereo lithography, which is also called Stereolithography, SLA Rapid Prototyping, or short for SLA, is a form of rapid prototype technology.
Photosensitive resin, filled in the resin tank, will quickly cure under the UV laser beam irradiation. At the beginning of this SLA prototyping process, under computer numerical control, the focused laser beam begins to scan along the liquid surface. The resin being scanned is cured so as to get  a cross-sectional plastic sheet. The worktable then is lowered for a new layer and endlessly all cured layers are firmly bonded for the final molding.
SLA rapid prototyping can get you direct plastic products and is suitable for small shaped parts. SLA is mainly used for prototyping of conceptual models, or for assembly inspection and process planning. Stereo lithography can also replace the wax mold casting as well as metal spraying mold, epoxy mold and other soft mode’s master mold.

What are the Stereolithography advantages?

The advantages of SLA rapid prototyping are as follows:

  1. Stable. Once the system starts to work, the entire process of SLA prototype is fully automated and does not require special attention until the end of the process.
  2. High dimensional accuracy. Stereo lithography ensures you that the accuracy is within 0.1mm for every workpiece.
  3. Good surface quality. The top surface of the workpiece is very smooth, the side is good as well.
  4. High system resolution. This stereolithography advantage makes complex structure easy.

What are the Stereolithography disadvantages?

SLA rapid prototyping has the below technical disadvantages:
1. The resin will absorb moisture in the air, resulting in the thin and soft parts curved as the time goes by.
2. The material of this kind rapid prototype is limited as it must be photosensitive resin. Workpieces made of this type of resin can not, in most cases, be tested for durability and thermal properties.
3, SLA rapid prototyping requires support structure for the workpiece in order that the each part can be reliably positioned.

SLA Rapid Prototyping in KAIAO

With over 10 years experience in Stereo lithography, KAIAO is one of the most reliable company for rapid prototyping with the focus on CNC machine and SLA prototyping. It is now able to build accurate support structure for every workpiece and make reliable prototyping.

Automobile lamps and lanterns Prototypes on Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing

The lamps and lanterns of automobile are high-tech products which gather the light, electricity, material and the art sculpt as a whole. The development of the world’s automobile industry and the continuous appearance of new car types puts forward the very high request for the product quality, species and the periods of remodel of the automobile’s lamps and lanterns and so on.

In the face of the situation of sharp market competition and the strict request for road safe laws, how to increase the development level of the new product and shorten the periods of product development and the mold manufacturing have become an urgent job of the automobile headlight profession of our country.

Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing(RPM) synthesizes the high-tech of CAD, data processing, numerical control, sensor, laser and so on, which are the important parts of the advanced manufacturing technique. The RPM adopts its special principle of disperse-accumulation, according to the mold of CAD, and divides the product into many layers, then piles up the manufacturing in multiple layers. Because the Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing processes one layer only each time, i.e. a certain section of the product, it can manufacture many three-dimensional entities in complicated shapes, which almost cannot be realized with traditional way of processing.

Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing is restricted by the material used, so it can’t be enough to substitute the end product. Therefore, the aspects such as the function examination of new product, feedback information after throwing in the market and try running to acquire the customer’s usage, and the small batch quantity production etc. will still need to manufacture the product of the actual material.

So, making use of the Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing as mother mould to make the mold and manufacture the product of the practical material, then come into being the Rapid Tooling(RT)technique which according to the fast prototype. Putting the prototype product into the frame and fixing it, then pour with the silica gel , after it solidifies and separates it by split plane, taking out the prototype, then make use of the silica gel mold to make the product.

The RPM is a high lately technique which can fast develop product prototype and mold, and using it in the development of automobile’s lamps and lanterns could have a series of advantage which can evidently shorten the periods of development, reduce cost and mold quickly etc., so this study topic has certain advancement and practicability.

The purpose of my research is going to resolve the problem of shortening the periods of developing the automobile’s lamps and lanterns prototype by adopting the technique of RPM. After discussing the principle, method and advantages of RPM, we adopt StereoLithography Apparatus ( SLA) technique and be drived by the model of CAD of the product directly, through the laser machine focalize photosensitive resin under the calculator control, making its surface solidified layer by layer and folded to make into the entity prototype of the headlight, then making use of the technique of overcasting the mold with silica gel to produce injection mold.

Thus it can realize the fast development of the key moulding of automobile’s lamps and lanterns. The content of this thesis is a part of the foundation item of machine industry technique development ” the automobile’s lamps and lanterns key parts and mold CAD/ CAM integral wholes technique”.

How to Select CNC Milling Tools in CNC Machining

The popularization of CNC engineering technology will make great within modern manufacturing technology. The numerical control rate is a crucial mark of the modernization level of national manufacturing industry. The development of COMPUTER NUMERICAL CONTROL machining technology has a direct impact on the advance of manufacturing technology in various sectors of the national economy.

CNC Cutting Equipment in CNC Machining

Finding out tools for reducing is under the man-machine interaction programmed by NUMERICAL CONTROL. The CNC machine slicing tools and handles should be selected appropriately structured on the processing capacity of the machine, the fabric performance of each workpiece, the processing techniques, the cutting amount and other related factors. The general principle of COMPUTER NUMERICAL CONTROL milling tools selection is: easy to install and adjust, good rigidity, toughness and finely-detailed. On the premise of meeting the processing requirements, make an effort to choose a shorter handle to increase the rigidity of CNC milling cutter tooling.

In digesting the free surface of CNC machining, there is no cutting speed in the head of ball end cutter, therefore, in order in order that the processing reliability, cutting line spacing is generally made close, and the ball head is often used for surface finishing. The flat brain tool in the surface processing quality and slicing efficiency are better than the ball knife, so, in the premise that no over cutting is guaranteed, KAIAO always give priority to the choice of flat knife for both rough surfaced control and finishing.

In addition, the toughness and accuracy and reliability of CNC milling tools is extremely relevant to the tool price. That must be noted that, in most cases, the choice of good tool increases cost, nevertheless , KAIAO are always able to associated with whole refinement costs reduced for you with better CNC machine cutting tools selected as they are incredibly helpful to improve processing quality and efficiency.

CNC Cutting Tool Selection and Cutting Amount Determination

The selection of the tool and the determination of the cutting quantity are the important contents in the numerical control processing technology. It not only affects the processing efficiency of the CNC machine tool, but also directly affects the processing quality. The development of CAD / CAM technology makes it possible to use CAD design data directly in CNC machining. Especially, the connection between computer and CNC machine tool makes the whole process of design, process planning and programming all done on the computer and no special craft documents needed any more.

Now, many CAD / CAM software packages provide automatic programming functions, which are usually in the programming interface and prompts the process planning issues, such as tool selection, processing path planning, cutting the amount of settings. The programmers only have to set the parameters and NC programs are automatically generated  and transferred to the CNC machine to complete processing. Therefore, the choice of tool selection and cutting in numerical control machining is done in the form of human-computer interaction, which is in sharp contrast to the common machine tool processing. It also requires the programmer to master the basic principles of CNC cutting tool selection and cutting programming to fully consider the characteristics of CNC machining. In this post, the problem of tool selection and cutting quantity determination which must be faced in NC programming is discussed. Some principles and suggestions are given, and the problems that should be paid attention are discussed as well.

Types and characteristics of CNC Cutting Tools

CNC machining tools must meet characteristics of CNC machine:high speed, high efficiency and high degree of automation. Generally there are general-purpose tool, universal connection handle and a small amount of special handle. The tool holder is connected to the tool and mounted on the machine power head, so it has been standardized and serialized.

There are several ways to classify CNC tools. According to the structure, CNC cutting tools can be divided into:

  • integral type;
  • mosaic, by the use of welding or machine folder connection, it can be divided into non-transposition and indexable two;
  • special type, such as compound cutter, Vibration tools and so on.

According to the material used to make the tool, tools for cutting can be divided into:

  • high-speed steel cutting tools;
  • carbide cutting tools;
  • diamond tools;
  • other materials, such as tools, such as cubic boron nitride tool, ceramic cutting tools.

From the cutting process, CNC machine cutting tools can be divided into:

  • turning tools, sub-circle, hole, thread, cutting tools and other;
  • drilling tools, including drill, reamer, taps, etc .;
  • boring tools;
  • Milling tools

In order to meet the requirements of CNC machine tools to be durable, stable, easy to adjust, easy to be changed, in recent years, machine-type indexable tool are widely used with about  30% to 40% of the entire CNC cutting tools and 80% to 90% of the total metal removal.

Characteristics of CNC Cutting Tools

When compared with general-purpose machine tool, CNC cutting tools have the main characteristics as follows:

  1. good rigidity (especially roughing tool), high precision, anti-vibration and thermal deformation of small;
  2. interchangeability is good, easy for quick tool change;
  3. high life, cutting performance is stable and reliable;
  4. The size of the tool is easy to adjust to reduce the tool change time;
  5. The tool should be able to reliably break the chip or chip, in order to facilitate the removal of chips;
  6. series, standardization, in order to facilitate programming and tool management.

The choice of CNC machining tool

When selecting CNC cutting tools, KAIAO, one of the top CNC machining companies in China, is fully experienced and always makes sure the size of the tool matches the surface size of the workpiece. In the production, while tooling the peripheral parts of the contours in KAIAO’s CNC machining factory, KAIAO often uses end mills; While milling plane, we select carbide cutter cutter and high-speed steel end mills for processing boss or groove. For rough surface or rough holes, corn cutters with carbide cutter blade are selected. Besides, the CNC milling cutters like ball cutter, ring cutter, tapered cutter and disc cutter are used for some three-dimensional profiles and variable bevel contour contours.

For more details, please visit: How to Select CNC Milling Tools in CNC Machining.

How to determine the amount of cutting

The principle for a reasonable choice of cutting amount is that, in rough processing, we generally need to improve productivity-based, but should also consider the economy and processing costs; in semi-finishing and finishing, we should ensure the quality of processing and take the cutting efficiency, economy and processing costs into account. The specific values should be based on the machine manual, cutting the amount of manual, combined with experience.