Forming and Molding
General Forming Information
The science of molding thermoplastic composites is very detailed and involved to produce good parts, but a simplified overview is; heat and pressure…. a lot of heat and a lot of pressure (but not too much of either).
Molds to form thermoplastic composites can be made from a number of different materials. Aluminum and steel are the most common but composite and constrained silicon molds can also be used. Effectively a mold can be made out of any material that can withstand the pressure and heat required for any particular part. A typical mold would be a two-part matched metal tool, as shown below. Multi-part and enclosing molds are available, but can add significantly to upfront part costs.
Basic Mold Design