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RT - Rapid Tooling


RT Process

Rapid Tooling (RT) describes a process that is the result of combining Rapid Prototyping techniques with conventional tooling practices to produce a mold quickly or parts of a functional model from CAD data in less time and at a lower cost relative to traditional machining methods. Rapid Tooling can act as a bridge to production injection molded parts.

Rapid Tooling (RT) typically, either uses a Rapid Prototyping (RP) model as a pattern or uses the Rapid Prototyping process directly to fabricate a tool for a limited volume of prototypes.

Expensive tooling cost can be well justified just when the production quantity is massive. Actually the way to produce tooling quicker and more economically, especially for small quantity manufacturing becomes a significant question. Additionally, in the product development cycle, requires always some intermediate tooling to produce a small quantity of prototypes or functional tests, samples for marketing, evaluation purpose, or production process design. RT becomes more and more important to nowadays manufacturing industry.

The main advantages are tooling time is much shorter than for a conventional tool. Time to first articles can be less than one-fifth that of conventional tooling; tooling cost is much less than for a conventional tool. Cost can be below five percent of conventional tooling cost.

The main challenges are tool life is less than for conventional tools and tolerances are wider than for conventional tools.




¤ Prototypes in production material in little time.

¤ Allows for full fit and function testing.

¤ Discover any design imperfection on early stage.

¤ Low cost tooling allows for facilitate design refinement and modification.

¤ Preceding production process- molds can produce thousands of parts.

New stations rapid milling CNC - CharlyRobot
presenting attractive costs can produce molds or prototypes in Fiberglass, aluminum and Composites or fast production of products in extremely short time in dimensions:
3100 mm x 2100 mm x 450 mm
even to fraction larger molds modeling.



¤ Shorten the Tooling Lead-Time - Normal development time is shortened from months to a few days or weeks.
¤ Low Cost - reduced Cost allowing real trials affordable.
¤ Allows functional test of parts on initial design stage
¤ Data CAD Direct Transfer - Many imperfections due to drawings misinterpretation can be avoided using the original CAD model all through the RP process and then along to RT process.
¤ Due to short tooling manufacture time and low cost in using RT, many engineers prefer to produce parts for functional test in the early design stage. As a result, many design faults are debugged before production, so many design failures are avoided.

Transforming CAD models in STL files




The most rapid RP systems are still too slow and are limited as they can't produce parts in a wide range of materials, at a fast enough rate, to perform the enormous range of industry requirements. Despite the vast progress in direct part fabrication, even conventional processes such as molding and casting are still the only means available.

RP is frequently the technological path making these manufacturing processes faster, cheaper and better. Certainly, the tooling fabrication Is actually the most important application of direct manufacturing.

The two main ways to make tooling molds using Rapid Prototyping are directly fabricated by an RP system, or indirect or secondary processes RP-generated parts that can be used as patterns for a mold fabricating.


RT Process
Airway Cooling Vent




Molding and casting are specialized rapid prototyping processes that have been developed to meet specific application and material requirements. Stereolithography or selective laser sintering are normally forms of basic RP processes and methods developed for specific applications.

See the Video from RTe site
Site RTejournal
Rapid Tecnologies Forum
FDM™ 200mc


Despite RP materials properties improve and expand continuously, a limitless array of applications means will always request to transfer parts fabricated in a material employed in an RP process into another material. As usually it is necessary to use very specific materials to make most tools, several material transfer technologies have been developed.

See on the next page RP Rapid Prototyping several process and material transfer technogies.

The clear result is that there are a different number of paths to obtain a final functional part or tool starting from a CAD definition. The choice depends on:

¤ The purpose
¤ Volume to be produced
¤ Final material and accuracy requirements
¤ Applied rapid prototyping process

Numerous other factors may influence choices since most technologies are emergent, have significant limitations, and there are usually several competing alternatives.


Low Volume (from tens to hundreds)

¤ Soft Tooling
¤ Reaction injection molding
¤ Bridge Tooling - Direct Access Injection Molding

Intermediate (from hundreds to thousands)

¤ Metal filled Epoxy Tooling
¤ Powdered Metal Tooling

Other technologies

¤ Space Puzzle Molding



¤ Simulation
¤ Consulting and information about simulation techniques
¤ Numerical simulation of manufacturing processes
¤ Numerical simulation of the mechanical and thermal component behavior
¤ Topology and shape optimization
¤ Rapid Prototyping
¤ Consulting and technology transfer
¤ Prototyping of parts
¤ Manufacturing of mold inserts

Page link to RPD, RP and RT directories & links
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