We worked on 3D printing press brake tools. Printed tools were shown to be able to run short runs of steel and aluminum parts, up to ~500 – 1500 bends. This helps fabrication customers with prototyping and small manufacturing runs.
PLA Upper and Lower Die with Extender. These tools have benefits for rapid turnaround in case you don’t have the correct tools in house and can be used for prototype runs. Also, the plastic tools are much lighter than metal ones, so they are much easier to handle.
ULTEM 9085 Lower Die. ULTEM seemed to provide the best results of any plastic for press brake tools.
PLA Tooling. Test bends using PLA tools. Lifetime was roughly 500 parts with these tools. They appeared to exhibit wear on the tops of the V, likely caused by the travel of the metal over the die.
Carbon Fiber Nylon Dies. The carbon fiber dies worked better at first, but nylon’s properties change once it uptakes atmospheric moisture due to its high hygroscopicity. The material goes from a dry state which is stiff and brittle to a wet state which is soft and pliable. The tools would need to be used within a day or two of printing.
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