Research Article Open Access

Investigating Rapid Thermoform Tooling Via Additive Manufacturing (3d Printing)

Gene Haeberle1 and Salil Desai1
  • 1 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, United States


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has matured from a prototyping tool to a soft production tooling in recent years. This research elaborates the role of AM technology (3D printing) in the design, prototyping and development of a rapid thermoform tooling. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer was implemented to fabricate thermoform tooling in Polypropylene Styrofoam (PPSF). We contrast the additively manufactured thermoform tooling with conventional tooling using computerized numerical control (CNC) machines. Findings showed that the additive thermoform tooling with PPSF was found to be (1) faster in development time, (2) comparable in quality and (3) lower in total cost. However, the (4) tool yield was 50% less than traditional tooling and production cycle times were 25-50% longer to allow for the additive tooling to cool. This research explores the fabrication thermoform tooling for low-volume environments using additive manufacturing (3D Printing) technology.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 16 No. 8, 2019, 238-243


Submitted On: 1 August 2019 Published On: 9 October 2019

How to Cite: Haeberle, G. & Desai, S. (2019). Investigating Rapid Thermoform Tooling Via Additive Manufacturing (3d Printing). American Journal of Applied Sciences, 16(8), 238-243.

  • 38 Citations



  • 3D Printing
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Rapid Tooling
  • Thermoform Molding