Machined aluminum tools are typically built for shallow parts with small draw ratios.
Plastics Design & Manufacturing uses 6061-T6 aluminum for the construction of these molds, which can be held to very close tolerances. These tools are then mounted on a temperature-controlled base to control the tool temperature during the forming process.
Male or female tools and vacuum-form or pressure-form tools can be machined aluminum tools. Tools can be textured and may offer features such as loose cores, pneumatic cores, and inserts.
Cast aluminum tools are cast at a foundry from a machined pattern made of composite material. The temperature controls are cast into the back and sides of the tools at the foundry. Cast aluminum tools typically are built for large parts with large draw ratios and may be male or female and vacuum-form or pressure-form. Features such as texture, loose and pneumatic cores, and inserts are available.
For prototyping and short production runs, cost-efficient composite materials are used for tool construction. These tools produce parts that are to be evaluated for fit, form and function and may be modified to evaluate possible design changes. Composite tools are used in vacuum forming only and have a limited life.
Check out our Design Guidelines for more information or Contact Us to discuss with a team member.