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3D Printed Vacuum Form Molds Whitepaper

Vacuum Form Molds / / 3D Printed Molds for Vacuum Forming

Check out the latest Fathom created white paper on 3D printing. BENEFITS OF 3D PRINTING VACUUM FORM MOLDS  Written by Cole Hartman, Mechanical Engineer and Veronica De La Rosa, Industrial Designer Vacuum forming is a versatile and easy to learn process. With affordable 3D printed tooling and a wide variety of applications, it could be the perfect fit for your next prototyping project. Vacuum forming with 3D printed molds is a great way to quickly create 3D parts from plastic sheet material. This document outlines how to take advantage of the unique benefits of Stratasys 3D printers for vacuum forming applications.

FDM (fused deposition modeling) is the most common technology used for creating 3D printed molds for vacuum forming and offers many unique benefits. FDM allows you to print in various sparse fill densities, giving the molds an inherent porosity that results in a uniform vacuum to be drawn throughout the tool. This can greatly simplify the fabrication of the tool. In addition, FDM machines are capable of printing molds in a variety of durable, heat resistant plastics that prolong the life of the mold.PolyJet (UV-Cured Photopolymer) is another common technology used for 3D printing molds. PolyJet-based machines build parts with fine layer resolution and as a result, produce parts with very smooth surfaces. PolyJet vacuum form molds require little to no post processing and are great for making molds with organic and curvy surfaces. PolyJet molds don’t share the porosity of sparse fill FDM molds, but air vents can easily be designed into critical areas of the mold prior to printing, eliminating the labor and potential inconsistency of manual drilling.

Both technologies simplify the tool fabrication, allowing engineers and designers to test multiple tooling strategies concurrently and shortening the time to produce the first articles of a design. Other additive manufacturing technologies can be considered… (continued)

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3D

Comprehensive Capabilities for Rapid Manufacturing

At Fathom we offer a unique advantage of speed and agility-our experts help companies go from concept to prototype to manufacturing in ways not previously possible. 

3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
90+ Machines  
SLS / / Two-day  SLA / / Next-day 
FDM / / Next-day DMLS / / Three-day 
PolyJet / / Same-day MJF / / Two-day
Injection Molding

30 Second Quotes

Prototype Tool / / As soon as 10 days

10K Parts / / 10 days

Production Tool / / As soon as 3 weeks

CNC Machining

3 & 5 Axis Milling & Turning
(Plastics, Composites and Metals)

Tolerance Accuracy Range
from +/-0.001″ to 0.005″

Urethane Casting

Injection Molding Adjacent
without High Costs of Metal Tools

Most Commonly Used for High-Volume
Prototyping & Bridge to Production

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Fathom is driven by advanced technologies and methods that enhance and accelerate today’s product development and production processes.

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