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For Projects Large and Small
CNC MACHINED PLUGS
Vectorworks utilizes several state of the art 5-Axis CNC Machining Centers to accurately and quickly reproduce your 3D geometry whether it’s a new hull or deck design, aircraft fuselage, or architectural device. The sub-structures for machining are all fully developed in our 3D CAD package around the geometry to be machined. All of our plugs typically start with a very rigid steel sub-base. This sub-base is constructed of torsionally rigid closed section steel tubing (i.e. not angle or channel). This provides a stiff, stable reference plane back to the original 3D model. NC machined 3/4″ plywood stations are also generated and set onto the steel frame. These stations are fully sheeted with 3/4″ plywood providing an extremely rigid underlying structure for our very specific combination of urethane foam, fiberglass, and high density tooling putty. The plugs are machined twice; once in the foam with a ½” undercut from the final surface, and then again to the final surface after the foam has been locked in place with a significant layer of FRP, and sprayed with putty. Typically all inside radii are machined to 1/4″ and small outside radii are left sharp, but the final details are developed in conjunction with the customer to suit their needs. After machining, the surfaces and lines are all completely fair and accurate. The plug is ready to lightly sand off the residual machining scallops, address the radii as required by the customer, and then prime.
LIMITED PRODUCTION TOOLING
Limited Production Tooling (LPTs) uses the same process as a machined plug, just machining the other side of the surface to create a female mold instead of a male plug. LPTs provide an excellent alternative to bring a product into prototyping and even low rate initial production without the upfront costs of Plugs and FRP Production Tooling. Vectorworks pioneered the development of direct machined LPTs in the late 1990’s and has gone on to further improve their already impressive reliability and durability.
CUSTOMIZED FRP PRODUCTION TOOLING
Whether it’s being made over a CNC Machined Plug or over a Glass Master, Vectorworks’ Project Managers work closely with each customer to determine the mold construction details that best suit their needs. While Vectorworks’ mold making repertoire includes a wide variety of processes from infused HT Carbon-Epoxy through filled polyester resin systems, Vectorworks’ Production Tooling typically consists of a Vinylester tooling gelcoat bulked slowly with approximately 21 Oz. / ft2 of Chopped Strand Mat (CSM) in a hybrid Vinylester matrix. The molds are framed with steel piping and mounted on rigid, stable steel sub-bases. The steel sub-bases are mounted parallel to the customer’s baseline, providing quick and easy setup and leveling, as well as reference back to the 3D model. If the customer desires, Vectorworks can also provide rotating molds, split molds, vacuum ports, or just about any other feature needed.
- Rotating features for ease of handling
- Multi-part tooling for complex shapes
- Vacuum-assisted resin transfer tooling
- Closed mold tooling
- Complex concrete formwork to ACI 347 standards
Quality Production Tooling is critical to efficient production and to positive product recognition. Vectorworks recognizes this and takes extraordinary efforts to ensure that we meet ALL of the customer’s expectations. Utilizing a dedicated tooling gelcoat booth as well as a segregated finishing area, we recognize the importance of each and every step in the process of developing the highest quality Production Tooling.