Water washout tooling material

The ExOne Co. (North Huntingdon, PA, US), a global provider of 3D printing machines and 3D printed and other products to industrial customers, has qualified a new application, Water Wash-out Tooling, for its additive manufacturing process, designed to aid in the development of manufacturing and composite tooling.

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The ExOne Co. (North Huntingdon, PA, US), a global provider of 3D printing machines and 3D printed and other products to industrial customers, has qualified a new application, Water Wash-out Tooling, for its additive manufacturing process, designed to aid in the development of manufacturing and composite tooling. ExOne’s Materials Applications Laboratory (ExMAL) identified the limits of traditional manufacturing techniques for tooling production in water-soluble materials and developed the new application to meet the challenges presented by the varying designs of composite parts. Using ExOne’s printers, the company created 3D printed cores that can simply be washed out of a part after manufacturing. To fully realize the capabilities of the application, ExMAL developed a new surface coating process that is applied to the printed core and eliminates the porousness of printed media and provides extremely smooth surface finishes. Water Wash-out Tooling, says ExOne, is unique when compared with traditional methods in that all of the print material can be recovered and reused for future print cycles. Accordingly, it reduces inventory requirements and removes molding steps to help speed up development time. Intended for the production of hollow parts, typical of mandrel or clamshell molding, ExOne’s Water Wash-out Tooling process involves the 3D printing of a core in sand, ceramics, or carbon, over which a composite layup can be applied and cured.  The final core is then washed out, leaving the structural composite part remaining. The process can be used with polyester, vinyl ester or epoxy resins. The system is fully capable of autoclave pressures to 125 psi and can withstand process temperatures up to 191°C.  ExOne says Water Wash-out Tooling is designed to print mandrels for filament winding, tape placement or hand layup; plugs and source tools; styling and design models; hollow or trapped shape fabrication; and one-off parts for part validation.