Metal Additive Manufacturing (MAM) has had a tremendous impact in reimagining the design and manufacture of products in a number of industries. The use of MAM to directly produce products continues to be investigated; however, the area of manufacturing tooling has yet to be fully explored. MAM provides a unique opportunity to introduce features that make manufacturing tooling better equipped to efficiently produce complex products. A recent example includes MAM produced molds for the injection molding industry. MAM, in this case, provides the ability to introduce unique features, such as cooling channels, that could not be introduced practically with SM processes. This study explores the use of MAM towards the engineering and design of Extrusion Die Tooling for plastic extruded products. Plastic extrusion is a high-volume manufacturing process for a broad range of products from tubing to window frames. These extruded plastic products come in not only a range of sizes, but also different polymer materials. A series of extrusion dies are currently needed in the process in order to achieve the final shape of the product. These dies are effectively designed in two dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages, because of the current preferred method of fabrication, wire Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). This study explores the effect of MAM on the extrusion die engineering design process. The explored cases center on common extruded plastic products including tubing and constant wall U-channels. The study first describes how sets of extrusion dies are currently designed in CAD in order to produce the desired extruded product features with established advanced manufacturing processes (EDM). The study then details the effect of using the MAM alternative on the design process, CAD methods selected, and the extrusion die features. The impact of MAM on the extruded die design process are discussed in order to provide guidelines for when it should be considered in order to effectively achieve features on the described extruded plastic products.

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