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Tool Design And Concurrent Engineering Through Six Rapid Tooling Construction Methods Using Rapid Prototype Models

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.669.1 - 5.669.7



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Nicole L. Hoekstra

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Section Number 3563

Tool Design and Concurrent Engineering using Rapid Tooling Construction Methods

Nicole Hoekstra Engineering Technology Department Western Washington University


Prior to rapid prototyping (RP), the depth to which students could analyze a design, product or process was limited due to the length of the academic quarter. Now, the Manufacturing Engineering Technology curriculum is able to further incorporate design, production, and testing in concurrent engineering and student projects. This paper discusses new developments in a Tooling for Plastics Processing course that focuses on the design and construction of injection molding tooling where the students investigated several methods of creating prototype tooling from RP models. Each method was evaluated for tool and part characteristics including surface finish, cycle time, cost, repeatability, and tool longevity. These methods can also be utilized in subsequent courses to create tooling and manufacture parts for design analysis and testing. Using RP, students are now better able to perform multiple iterations of production and testing of advancing designs using RP. The level of learning that occurs is dependent on two main things: how much iteration occurs and how well the results are analyzed and utilized in the next or concurrent step.

1. Introduction

Rapid Prototyping (RP) is a method of fabricating a model directly from a solid modeling software or CAD file. RP technologies like Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) deposit thermoplastic powders or resins in thin layers to construct the model1. Designs for small parts can go from a CAD file to an actual model in just a few hours. The Engineering Technology department at Western Washington University recently completed a solid modeling lab and purchased rapid prototyping equipment with a Concurrent Engineering Grant from an industrial partner. Concurrent engineering practices are now being developed at all levels of the curriculum.

In the plastics industry, concurrent engineering is very important due to the high cost of tooling and long lead times. Typically, concurrent engineering is utilized by manufacturing prototype tooling early in the design phase to analyze and adjust the design. Production tooling is manufactured as the final step. Beginning Winter quarter of 2000, the Tooling for Plastics Processing course incorporated similar concurrent engineering practices. The students in the class were divided into teams. Each team chose a simple part design and a prototype mold construction method. Each prototype mold construction method uses a rapid prototyped model to create the mold. The RP models were created using the department’s FDM machine. After completing the prototype molds, parts were manufactured using injection molding. After part analysis, the students updated the part design and the tool design. Then a machined aluminum mold was produced using the new design to manufacture additional parts. Parts from the

Hoekstra, N. L. (2000, June), Tool Design And Concurrent Engineering Through Six Rapid Tooling Construction Methods Using Rapid Prototype Models Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8778

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