Best practices for making and maintaining composite molds

In the November/December 2017 “Composite Manufacturing” magazine, we focused on the selection and consideration of building glass fiber reinforced molds. In subsequent columns, we will discuss actual mold manufacturing, best practices for mold maintenance, and material and technological innovations.
GFRP molds are usually the cheapest option and are usually the simplest to construct. Usually, they can be built in a few days, rather than the months required for alternative products such as machined metal molds. In addition, if you need to change the design or process, you can easily modify or simply rebuild the GFRP mold.
The gel coat should always be fresh material and should be designed for mold making. Look for products sold as “tool gel coats.” These will be harder and more resistant to high temperatures than conventionally produced gel coats (ie marine, sanitary or sandpaper). The design of the tooling gel coat also has higher corrosion resistance and abrasion resistance, and its gloss retention is better than traditional gel coats. Previously, if a lot of sanding/polishing of the mold was required, a second layer of tool gel coating was used. Recently, especially with the development of shrink-controlled filling materials, reducing sanding has become the norm. Therefore, the second layer of gel coating has evolved to use a vinyl ester barrier coating to “push” the glass fiber further away from the mold surface, while providing a more brittle second layer of tool gel coating.​​​ A layer of toughness.
Leather clothing is usually used to pick up complex mold details, especially where glass fiber bridging may occur in a narrow radius. These skin coatings should be made of hybrid vinyl ester resins, specifically for thin-layer skin care. Before proceeding to the next step, any voids under or within the skin must be cleared and repaired.
In the past 25 years, the expansion layer has continued to develop. The methods adopted by most companies today involve shrink-controlled filling techniques, where a thicker layer for each application (0.120 inches to 0.200 inches) can be used multiple times a day. Fast curing, shrinkage control technology usually takes 1 to 3 days to complete the mold. Core materials such as balsa wood or synthetic materials can be included in molds that require lighter or lighter stiffness.
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Composite Manufacturing is the official publication of the American Composite Manufacturers Association. The magazine is published every two months and provides a practical assessment of the current status of the composite materials industry and an in-depth exploration of future opportunities and challenges. It includes timely reports on core market areas, materials, processes and technical education, as well as topics such as sustainability, plant safety, operational efficiency and research progress. Subscribe to the “Composite Manufacturing” magazine.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is the world’s largest trade organization. In North America alone, it represents more than 3,000 companies in the composites industry. Through its CAMX exhibitions, conferences and the Certified Composite Technician (CCT®) program, ACMA is recognized as the premier provider of educational resources for the composites industry. It provides strong and proactive leadership in the development of the composite materials market and technical, legislative and regulatory affairs to serve its members and the industry.
American Composite Manufacturers Association, address: 2000 N. 15th Street, Ste. 250, Arlington, VA 22201 Ph | 703.525.0511 Fx | 703.525.0743 | www.acmanet.org


Post time: Mar-30-2021
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