07 March 2023 | blog
Tooling Board, sometimes referred to as Modelling Board, is a material used mostly for making prototype or low-run patterns and mould tools for composite parts.
Most of these boards fall into one of two categories, epoxy and polyurethane.
Structurally, Epoxy Tooling Board is made from glass microspheres, epoxy resins and other chemical hardeners.
The microscopic structure is uniform, this means that the glass microspheres are evenly spaced and organised (also referred to as Syntactic) which give the board an even density and internal structure.
It is this uniform internal structure that allows the materials to be machined into semi-complex shapes while still giving a smooth surface finish.
If the pattern or mould requires more complex features like etched scribe lines or holes, Epoxy Tooling Board will handle them well with low risk of chipping or damage.
Epoxy Tooling Board is not suitable for injection moulding.
High Temperature Epoxy Tooling Board
Epoxy Boards handle temperatures of up to around 120℃/240℉. This is higher than polyurethane boards and lower than metallics like Aluminium or Steel.
They are also a good choice for ambient temperature cures, particularly when the pattern or mould has some intricate detail.
High Density Tooling Board
Densities for tooling boards range from 100-1000 kg per cubic metre.
Epoxy Tooling Board generally sits in the range of 600-800 kg per cubic metre, we class anything over 650 kg per cubic metre as high density.
CNC Machining Epoxy Tooling Board
Epoxy Tooling Board needs to have the required final shape either drilled into it (for a female pattern or mould) or have excess material drilled away to expose the final shape (male pattern/mould) using a CNC machine - usually 3-axis for less complex shapes, 5-axis for the more complex.
If you need Epoxy Tooling Board CNC machined for a composite pattern or mould, upload your CAD with Plyable for instant manufacture feedback, lead time and cost.
You can also ask our engineering team questions about the right tooling for your project.
Epoxy Tooling Board Suppliers
If you’re looking for Epoxy Tooling Board as part of a pattern or mould project, then Plyable will provide the material as standard.
If you’re looking to source the material directly then it can be bought by the block from places like easy composites.
How many times can you use Epoxy Tooling Board?
Epoxy Tooling Board can manage 5-10 heated cure cycles depending on the shape of the pattern or mould. After that the board material starts to burn and it becomes brittle which can compromise the final part.
Do you have to seal Epoxy Tooling Board?
Yes, Epoxy Board does need to be sealed and have a release agent used on the composite part. We use Marbocote 2002 as standard or can work with customer preferences.
You can find our full range of Epoxy Tooling Boards in the top section of our materials page. These include, Base978 & Ebaboard EP138, which are the most popular choices.