REDU, a vocational school in Finland, faced a challenge in creating a complex windshield tool with two parts and a hinge. They wanted to use 3D printing and machining for the job.
To tackle this, they turned to CEAD's Flexbot, a versatile robot-based manufacturing platform. This device can switch between a 3D printing pellet extruder and a CNC milling head, making it suitable for creating the windshield mold. The chosen material for the project was UPM Formi 3D 20/19.
Initially, the project operators at REDU, Jakob Haerting and Severi Salmirinne, were cautious about potential issues during 3D printing, particularly with overhangs. They played it safe by using a slow layer time of 216 seconds. However, with guidance from CEAD and the stable properties of UPM Formi 3D 20/19, they were able to optimize the layer time to a faster and impressive 120 seconds without any problems.
Once the printing was done, the finishing touches on the mold's surface were completed through milling, resulting in a remarkably smooth finish.
In the end, REDU successfully printed and machined the windshield tool, weighing 37 kg and measuring 900 mm by 600 mm, all within a month. What's noteworthy is that they achieved this without any prior experience in large-scale 3D printing or CNC milling. The mold they created has been effectively used to shape PC/PET sheets into the desired windshield shape. You can find more details on CEAD's website here.