One of Baker Industries’ major OEM customers had a need for a timely and low-cost alternative to a carbon fiber insert. Baker made the move to FDM print this piece using ULTEM 1010. In comparison to the carbon fiber tooling, the ULTEM material provided almost identical coefficient of thermal expansion properties at the temperature range required for this application. This was a critical aspect of the project, because the application required a material that is able to withstand temperatures of 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and expand at the same rate as the other engineered parts that are also laid against the main tool.
Not only did this ULTEM alternative provide significant weight reduction, but it also enabled substantial time savings in production as well.
The inserts were printed with sparse-filled details, which allowed Baker to reduce over ¾ the original weight of the carbon fiber tooling. The team was also able to reduce lead time by over 6 weeks, since this process eliminated the need for designing carbon fiber details, machine time and post-processing to create the molds needed to lay-up the conventionally manufactured carbon fiber tool at the tolerances required by the customer.