CNC Robotic Manufacturing of Large Shapes for Fiberglass and Composite Production Tooling

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Abstract:

A computer numeric controlled (CNC) robotic machining capability has demonstrated the capacity to manufacture large, unique shapes which are utilized for fabrication of industrial molds and tooling for fiberglass and composite parts. Single parts as large as 25 m × 4.6 m × 2.9 m (82 ft × 15 ft × 9.5 ft) can be machined from low-density materials by two 7-axis CNC robots operating from parallel tracks. Large parts can be assembled by joining several pieces. This capability demonstrated that rapid prototyping is possible via both limited production and full production tooling/molds being machined from surface and/or solid computer models. The paper also includes an overview discussion of prototype production methods that have evolved in the boating and yacht building industries in recent years. Factors influencing decisions for the equipment and materials selected are discussed. The process is discussed from design to manufacture of a plug suitable for fabricating a production mold.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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