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Rapid Tooling for Vacuum Thermoforming

RapidMade revolutionizes vacuum form tooling by harnessing advanced manufacturing technologies, markedly reducing both lead times and costs. Utilizing techniques such as 3D printing and CNC machining, this approach dramatically accelerates the production of thermoforming tools. Traditional methods, often labor-intensive and time-consuming, are outpaced by these innovative processes which enable tool production in under 48 hours.

The precision of 3D printing and CNC machining allows for intricate and accurate tool designs, essential for high-quality thermoforming. This accuracy, combined with the use of durable, heat-resistant materials, ensures the longevity and effectiveness of the tools. Furthermore, the digital nature of these technologies facilitates easy modifications in design, a critical feature for prototyping and small-batch production.

In terms of cost efficiency, RapidMade’s approach significantly lowers expenses. The reduction in manual labor, coupled with minimized material waste, makes it a financially viable option, especially when compared to the high costs associated with traditional tooling methods like milled or cast aluminum. This cost-effectiveness is particularly beneficial for small-scale productions and prototyping, where traditional tooling costs could otherwise be prohibitive.

Thanks to advances in milled urethane composites and 3D printed nylon 12 quality is not compromised for speed and cost. The tools produced exhibit high precision and durability, reflecting in the superior quality of the thermoformed parts. 

In practice, RapidMade’s rapid tooling has proven its mettle. Case studies indicate significant reductions in lead times and costs for prototyping and small-batch production, without sacrificing the quality of the final product. This innovative approach not only streamlines the manufacturing process but also opens new possibilities for efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality thermoforming.

RapidMade offers three types of tooling for a range of applications:

3D Printed Nylon Tooling

  • Tooling turnaround in as little as 48 hours

  • Good for thousands of forms

  • Durable Nylon 12 with matte finish – will leave frosted finish on clear materials like PETG and PC

  • Fraction of the cost and lead time of cast or machined permanent tooling

  • Limited build size of 15″x15″x11.2″ – tools can be split and bonded in one direction – will leave witness line on the tool side

 Prototype and Production CNC Urethane Tooling

  • Typical tooling turnaround in 3-4 weeks ARO

  • Good for at least 50 forms with prototype tooling and thousands of forms for production tooling

  • Better for larger parts (15″ and larger)

  • Extremely high accuracy

Permanent Cast Aluminum Tooling

  • Typical tooling turn around in 8-10 weeks

  • Guaranteed for life: free upkeep and replacements

  • Very fast and inexpensive alternative to cast or milled aluminum

  • Can make parts over 6 feet long

  • Faster cycle times and less expensive forms than prototype tools

RapidMade|Rapid Tooling for Thermoforming
3D printed nylon 12 vacuum fixture to secure the thermoformed part during post machining - complexity does not add cost!

Finished Product Vacuum Thermoforming

Learn more about RapidMade’s Vacuum Thermoforming options.