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3D Printed Wind Blade Tooling on a Near Net Shape Support Structure with Built-In Heating System


Title: 3D Printed Wind Blade Tooling on a Near Net Shape Support Structure with Built-In Heating System

Authors: John Arimond, Chase Flaherty, Thomas Snape, Alexander Segala

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/c.23.0026

Abstract: Large-scale 3D printing is poised to revolutionize wind blade product development with direct-to-mold (DTM) toolmaking, eliminating plug fabrication. Commercialization of 3D printed wind blade tooling has been hindered by the feedstock quantity and printing time required to build 3D printed support structures in deep, curved tools. Currently, 3D printing is generally performed on a flat print floor, which is often heated. By printing tooling on a non-planar, near net shape (NNS) print floor, feedstock quantity and printing time can be reduced by well over 50%. A tool whose steel frame is in close proximity to its surface also offers superior dimensional stability over a 3D printed tool based on an "egg crate" architecture. An innovative design for blade tooling is presented, comprising a dimensionally stable welded steel frame with contoured profile plates to approximate the aerodynamic blade shape, an insulating subfloor of softwood lumber, a flexible electrical heating layer, a thermoplastic print floor compatible with the 3D printing compound, and a thin printed layer. The subfloor closely mimics the required tool shape, offset by the cumulative thickness of the flexible heating layer, print floor, and printed layer. A laser scan of the as-built print floor provides the basis for nonplanar print pathing.

References: [1] B. Post, B. Richardson, P. Lloyd, L. Love, S. Nolet and J. Hannan, ""Additive Manufacturing of Wind Turbine Molds,"" CRADA Final Report NFE-16-06051, 2017. [2] Personal communication from TPI Composites personnel (December 2022). [3] D. Pokkalla, A. Hassen, T. Snape, J. Arimond, V. Kunc and S. Kim, ""Thermal Analysis and Design of Self-Heating Molds Using Large Scale Additive Manufacturing for Out of Autoclave Applications,"" in ASME IMECE, 2022. [4] C. Flaherty, W. Friess, K. Bashir and S. Nolet, ""Feasibility of Thermoplastic Extrusion Welding as a Joining Method For Vacuum-Assisted Additively Manufactured Tooling,"" University of Maine, May 2023.

Conference: CAMX 2023

Publication Date: 2023/10/30

SKU: TP23-0000000026

Pages: 15

Price: $30.00

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