Microstructure and Hardness of Compression Mold Fabricated by Fused Deposition Modeling Process

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Oratai Jongprateep
Kunnayut Eiamsa-ard
Sirichai Jirawongnuson


Various rapid prototyping techniques have been developed for the growing industrial demands, which includes fabrication of compression molds for rubber products. The fused deposition modeling (FDM) process is one of the rapid prototyping techniques capable of producing molds with reduced cost and fabrication time. The FDM process employed in this study involves deposition of steel wires onto steel substrates, using MIG/MAG welding machine equipped with CNC milling machine. The steel wires were deposited layer by layer from bottom to top and milled for surface finish. Microstructure and hardness of the mold were examined using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Rockwell hardness test. Results from microstructural analysis revealed that there was no appearance of macroscopic pore or crack in the substrates, the deposited wires and the interfaces between substrates and wires. Only micro or submicro-sized pores were observed. Average grain size of the substrate, the deposited wire and the interface areas were 26.1, 11.1 and 9.5 micrometers, while hardness of the same regions were 73.1, 70.8 and 77.5 HRB, respectively. Absence of macroscopic pore or crack as well as comparable hardness for all areas indicated that the deposition process was well controlled.


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