6/5/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Video: Additive Manufacturing Offers a Tooling Alternative

3D printing can offer a cost-effective alternative to conventionally produced tooling for those processes that depend on it.


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Many manufacturing processes depend on tooling, but procuring molds, forms, cores and other tools is a time-consuming and costly step. Additive manufacturing offers a more direct path to tooling. Learn more in the video below and find our recent reporting on 3D-printed tooling in this collection.


So many manufacturing processes depend on tooling—injection molding, casting, thermoforming—but getting the tooling is often the most time-consuming and costly part of the process.

Additive manufacturing offers an alternative. 3D printing can allow us to make tools faster and more flexibly. You can go through multiple design iterations in the same amount of time that it would take to have one tool manufactured conventionally.

3D printing also makes it easier to add customization or to incorporate innovative features like conformal cooling channels.

3D-printed tools can perform better in operation, and they can also help us make better parts.


3D-Printed Tooling

3D printing makes it possible to manufacture molds, layup forms, jigs, fixtures, check gages, workholding, robot end effectors, hand tools and more. 3D-printed tools can be manufactured at low cost for specific users and applications and changed as needed. Tools that are no longer needed can be discarded but stored as digital inventory for the next time that tool might be required. VISIT THE ZONE


  • Will Additive Manufacturing Play a Major Role in Aircraft Production?

    One answer: It already does. Lockheed Martin discusses the challenges and promise of producing parts through 3D printing.

  • Video: Additive Manufacturing Advances at Caterpillar

    Stacey DelVecchio of Caterpillar describes how AM is moving forward within a large and established company. Today, there is tooling and aftermarket parts. Ultimately, the technology will empower engineers to realize parts and products “they never even dreamed possible.”

  • The Aircraft Imperative

    Reduce cost, reduce weight—to the extent that additive manufacturing can do these things, it represents a promising method for making aircraft parts. While important constraints currently prevent additive manufacturing from seeing more widespread use in aircraft production, these constraints might not be what you think. Here is a look at additive manufacturing within Boeing.

Hand holding a crystal ball

We’d rather send you $15 than rely on our crystal ball…

It’s Capital Spending Survey season and the manufacturing industry is counting on you to participate! Odds are that you received our 5-minute Metalworking / Plastics survey from Additive Manufacturing in your mail or email. Fill it out and we’ll email you $15 to exchange for your choice of gift card or charitable donation. Are you in the U.S. and not sure you received the survey? Contact us to access it.

Help us inform the industry and everybody benefits.