Rapid prototyping typically conjures up images of 3D printers of various forms. However, to view 3D printing/additive manufacturing as the only means to rapid prototyping would be an unduly narrow definition.

Fabricating a composite laminate is in many senses an additive manufacturing process. However, and certainly where dry reinforcements are concerned, this process is usually manual. Yet when it comes to making a prototype composite component, the greatest amount of time and cost is embedded in the moulds used. Consequently, rapid prototyping in the context of composites is focused on mould fabrication. Due to the size, surface finish, and mechanical property requirements of moulds for composites, 3D printing is not fit for purpose when used in isolation. At the same time, conventional CNC machining and moulding processes also present their own advantages and deficiencies

With equipment ranging a state of the art robotic machining cell, CNC hot wire cutters, ultrasonic knives, reaction casting/injection, and ‘traditional’ 3D printing equipment, FAC Technology can produce prototype moulds and components for/from most composite manufacturing processes.

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