Conformal cooling channels can be seen in these mold components for a plastic golf ball. The mold was produced with an additive manufacturing process.
Consider conformal cooling. The concept is to locate cooling lines within mold tooling at an optimal distance following the form of the contoured mold surfaces. Additive processes such as direct metal laser sintering enable mold manufacturers to “build in” these conforming channels as mold components are produced layer by layer. This is an alternative to forming these cooling lines by drilling straight holes into mold tooling after milling or EDMing a solid block of tool steel. These drilled lines are often not nearly as efficient or effective as the conforming lines.
This is just one example of how additive manufacturing compliments conventional machining techniques in mold making. Mold shops and machining companies can explore this and other advantages of additive manufacturing by attending the technical conference at Amerimold 2012 on June 13-14, 2012 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan.
The Amerimold technical program features two tracks of conference sessions, one on Additive Manufacturing and one on Mold Manufacturing. Conference registrants can attend any session in either track. For details about the technical program and exhibits at Amerimold 2012, click here.