Mold printing

Complicated carbon fiber parts for rover and ground
stations, require complicated molds. Design such molds require quite a time to
be properly designed. As a solution for fast mold design was choose 3D printing
technology with material withstand temperature for a 1 stage cure (93C) of
epoxy and mold dissolvable in water. Material is PVA (in long spaghetti form),
and printer is Mendel Prusa. It takes a time (1 month) to build such printer
mostly because printer is in experimental stage, source code in 3 different
languages, technology require precise temperature control, adjustments for
experimental filaments like PVA is mandatory / complicated, extruders is in
experimental stage too. But after questions with software and temperature
control was sorted out, 3D printing allows to simplify mold design. Now it
takes 5-7 times faster to make suitable mold then when mold was made from
alumini plastic. Alumini plastic actually better suited to work in molds – it can
hold second curing temperature (163C) for epoxy, but saving time is more advantageous
in that case. Another advantage is to have 3D printer at hands – this is allow another
time savings – ordering via online alumini molds can not be done faster then
two weeks cycle.

You can see captured screen of a printer printing
first (base) part of the dissolvable mold –

Mold Base

For sure software (ether java or pyton ) require improvements – estimated time to finish print shows
years to finish task, and who knows! – may be software estimation is right ;-)

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