Get This Paper

Hybrid Additively Manufactured Tooling for Large Composite Aerostructures


Title: Hybrid Additively Manufactured Tooling for Large Composite Aerostructures

Authors: Scott R. Huelskamp, Vern Benson, and Maria Pilar Muñoz-Lopez

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/s.20.0030

Abstract: Additively manufactured (AM) tooling has been shown to reduce cost and time in composite fabrication. However, AM tooling suffers from high, anisotropic thermal expansion that makes molding high accuracy composite parts at high temperatures very difficult. This is especially true for large structures with high aspect ratios and complex surface features. This paper discusses a new approach to overcome this challenge and allows AM tooling to be used in previously infeasible applications. A sandwich tool approach, made with a combination of a polymeric AM core and conventional tooling prepreg facesheets, was used to take advantage of the inherent strengths of each material while offsetting for the weaknesses. This approach was ultimately demonstrated on a multi-piece C-spar tool in support of an Airbus tooling development program. The tool exhibited isotropic thermal expansion that was nearly equivalent to that of invar at 180 degrees Celsius in both the x and y direction. The tooling was shown to be durable and dimensionally accurate through more than ten autoclave cycles.

References: [1] "Composites: Airbus continues to shape the future," Airbus, 1 August 2017. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 November 2019]. [2] "Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing, Thermwood Partner on Low Cost Responsive Tooling Program," Additive Manufacturing, 22 August 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 27 January 2020]. [3] S. Huelskamp and T. Osborn, "Large Format Additively Manufactured Tooling for Out-of-Autoclave Aerospace Composites," in SAMPE, Seattle, WA, 2017. [4] "SABIC Explores Effects of Autoclave Tooling on Large Format Additive Manufacturing Parts,", 28 February 2019. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 27 January 2020]. [5] E. Milberg, "ORNL Tool for Boeing 777X Sets World Record for Largest 3-D Printed Item," Composites Manufacturing Magazine, 27 September 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 27 January 2020]. [6] "Hextool M81 Product Datasheet," Hexcel, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 November 2019]. [7] "HexPly M21 Product Datasheet," Hexcel, [Online]. Available: [Accessed 31 January 2020]. [8] "Tooling," Composites World, 23 March 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 30 12 2019].

Conference: SAMPE 2020 | Virtual Series

Publication Date: 2020/06/01

SKU: TP20-0000000030

Pages: 15

Price: FREE

Get This Paper