A Handbook on CNC Mold Making

CNC mold making machine

When comes of  mold making, we usually use cnc router machine to make because it is with high precision and productivity. And for the mold materials, the most common we use is tooling board.

What is Tooling Board?

Tooling board, also known as modeling board and machinable slab are used for producing master models and prototype tooling. This technology was developed to replace traditional wire and plaster master model techniques.

This type of board can be bonded together to form larger blocks from which models and tools can be machined with CNC equipment. CNC technology is rapidly changing. The change helps in improving the productivity of the machine that is used for the mold industry.

With so much that has changed in recent years, it is important to showcase up to date guidebook of the state of CNC mold-making technology. The integrated CNC system increases the performance and overall productivity of the company.

You can take a look at the features and physical dimension of the CNC mold making machine . If you like to do make a mold, there is nothing better than a tooling board. Tooling board is the best for metal casting and creating actual prototypes.


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CNC cutting machine  uses high-end tooling boards that have superior surface finishing features and dimensional stability. It is used for carving molds, models, and developing prototypes. This type of tooling board offers uniformity and stability in prototyping tooling applications.

In present days, the demand for tooling board is very high. Numerous companies develop a wide variety of tooling board stock in different densities that are used for creating models and fixtures.

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    Types of Tooling Board

    The demand for tooling board is quite high. Different companies produce a variety of tooling boards in varying densities that are suitable for creating models, prototype tools, etc. This tooling board produces models with complete accuracy and efficiency.

    1. Polyurethane Tooling Board

    Polyurethane Tooling Board is used by automotive and many other industries for prototyping and modeling work. The boards are lightweight and by attaching two boards together, you can create a larger size model.

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    Two Categories of Polyurethane tooling board:

    • Medium Density: Medium density polyurethane CNC tooling board is a machinable slab designed for the production of patterns, mock-ups, prototypes, master models, fixtures, jigs, and other rapid tooling applications.

    • High Density: This proven material is used for medium-volume foundry patterns, core boxes, grating, and risers. Red Pattern board is a high-density board that is also used for metal forming, stamping and stretch press dies.

    2. Epoxy Tooling Board

    The epoxy system is used in industrial tooling so as to produce molds, master molds, fixtures, castings, industrial production, etc. casting and laminating are two basic types of operations that are used for manufacturing epoxy tools.

    The tooling board has high-temperature resistance and excellent finish of the surface. This tooling board helps in increasing its demand in different industries such as aerospace, transportation, race cars, vehicle, etc.

    There are two types of epoxy tooling boards that are recommended for CNC machining for carving accurate models and patterns.

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    • EB700

    This high-quality epoxy tooling board is 700kg/m3. It is recommended for CNC applications for highly accurate models, patterns, and production tools. Epoxy tooling board is used for high-temperature applications and essential when making prepreg composite molds at high temperature.

    The board is available in two different thicknesses, one is 50mm and other is 100mm in thickness and the block size ranges in 500mm x 1500mm (19″ x 59″).

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    • EB6200

    The high-temperature epoxy tooling board is designed to serve the needs of those using prepreg in the construction of tools for composite parts. The better surface quality of EB6200 and its ability remain unchanged during temperature range elevations.

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    3. Urethane Tooling Board

    The CNC machine uses high-density urethane tooling board that is made specifically for applications of up to 200°F and continuous exposure. Urethane is available in a wide range of sheet sizes, thicknesses, and densities.

    It can be cut or bonded into a variety of shapes for final machining or shaping. This type of tooling board is used for prototype machining, water jet cutting, pattern making, and artistic carving.

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    Let us take a look at some high-density urethane board options:

    • RAKU Tool SB-0160 (light gray, 10lbs/ft3): This type of tool is designed for the purpose of styling and designing models. It has a smooth surface with low dust, is lightweight, easy to shape, and is resistant to organic solvents.

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    • RAKU Tool SB-0320 (apricot, 20lbs/ft3): It is specifically designed for styling, designing, and data control models. Since it has a very good surface structure, it can be easily shaped and machined.


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    4. Renshape Tooling Board

    This tooling board offers perfect blend durability & machinability for most modeling applications of lightweight urethane boards. This tooling board is also available in the range of thickness to eliminate waste and save time in accomplishing the other processes.

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    Renshape tooling board comes in different densities, take a look at some of them:

    • Renshape 450

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    • Renshape 460

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    • Renshape 550

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    • Renshape 5460

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    Such type of Renshape modeling boards is used for creating prototypes offering unmatched quality and cost-effectiveness.

    Applications of Epoxy Tooling Board for Mold Making

    i. Prototyping: A CNC machining is basically used for converting a CAD file to a 3D model with medium density modeling board. Silicone mold can be made from epoxy modeling board that is used for creating numerous replicas of the silicone mold. This type of application is used only when the required quantities are small.

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    ii. Composite Tooling: The demand for tooling board rose with the usage of fiber-reinforced composites. Wood was once considered as one of the important elements for large tools owing to its cost-effectiveness but in recent years, the cost of the wood increased tremendously.

    For this reason, people have altered their choice from wood to urethane tooling board.

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    iii. Thermoforming: Thermoformers are switching from wood molds and plugs to Rampf modeling boards. They are quickly and easily machined by hand or on CNC equipment and a fine surface is exhibited with minimal sanding.

    These types of molds require good heat resistance, edge strength, and durability to increase the life of a tool. These types of tooling boards provide an excellent balance of performance and economy.

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    Features of Tooling Board

    Tooling boards are primarily used in CNC machining environment and they are playing an important role in aerospace, marine, and prototyping industry.

    Machining Tooling Board by OMNI CNC Machine


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      Tooling boards have no voids and perfect density encompassing a wide range of options, from medium-density foams to very dense, solid-plastic planks, etc. This allows users to match its requirements while keeping the cost minimal.

      • Low coefficient of thermal expansion

      • Inert surface chemically compatible with tooling prepregs

      • Suitable for use up to 130°C can be directly used for the production of parts

      • Quick mould preparation exceptionally easy to machine or hand carve

      • Rapid machining and thermal characteristics

      • High accuracy patterns and direct tooling

      • Long term durability

      • Superb consistency

      Thermally stable tooling board system helps in creating durables, prototypes, models, and patterns. With excellent dimensional stability, epoxy tooling board maintains the shape at an elevated temperature.

      The Market Dynamics of Epoxy Tooling Board

      Epoxy tooling board is majorly used for large scale development of prototypes of race cars, vehicles used in motorsports, and in the aerospace industry, etc., prototyping has gained a lot of traction across the automotive and aerospace industry so as to simplify and the development of the products maintaining the cost factor as well.

      Hence, increasing the development of prototypes for race cars, motorsports, and aerospace have enhanced the demand for epoxy tooling board offering the best tooling technique.

      Aerospace and automotive manufacturing companies also focus on creating prototypes with epoxy molds. Over machine molds, epoxy molds are fast and emerging as one of the inexpensive ways to create prototypes in the aerospace and automotive industry.

      Owing to stringent regulations passed by the Government, manufacturing firms are focusing on lightweight aircraft and testing models are created with the help of tooling boards.

      This tooling board offers a low-cost solution and quick mold preparation.

      Use of Epoxy Tooling Board in Wind Blade Manufacturing

      In recent times, the demand for epoxy tooling board for prototypes increased fueling the growth of epoxy tooling board market. Most manufacturing companies are using epoxy tooling boards for wind turbines, fabrication of modules, models, and tools.

      Also, epoxy resins are increasingly replacing the polyester that is used for the development of large wind turbines.

      It is also emerging as the matrices of wind blade composites as well as offering an advantage over polyester resins.

      Various manufacturing companies are using epoxy resins for creating better quality wind blade molds with perfect dimensional control that too at affordable rates. In recent times, the rise of tooling boards have been tremendous and numerous companies are developing tooling boards with various densities that are considered for designing models and creating prototypes.

      Companies are also developing large size and smooth surface epoxy tooling boards to make it compatible with standard epoxy adhesives.

      With the rising demand for epoxy tooling boards, major manufacturing companies are using it for creating a high-performance structure. Companies also produce a wide variety of tooling boards stock in varying densities that are suitable for creating models, low run prototypes, and fixtures.

      Tooling boards are intended for prototyping and they are consistent with no voids and best processing characteristics.

      Market Trends of Tooling Board

      The future of epoxy tooling board looks promising with opportunities in the field of transportation, aerospace, marine, wind energy industries, etc. the tools must posse sufficient quality to reproduce desired appearance in the part surface to withstand the rigors of multiple cure cycles.

      Such type of tooling is considered as very expensive to build especially the parts that undergo autoclave cure. Epoxy tooling board features superior finish and dimensional stability along with the ability to maintain even after being subjected to variations in temperature.

      Let us take a brief look at different industries that uses tooling board as one of the most promising for mold making:

      Aerospace Industry: The demand for tooling board prototypes in the aerospace industry is high and it provides opportunities for process development and verification in the project timeline. The growing automotive and aerospace industry is one of the key emerging trends in the global tooling market.

      Tooling boards are also known as machinable slabs and modeling boards that are used for prototyping models, creating molds, patterns, jigs, etc., in the automotive and aerospace industry. The high strength of the tooling boards helps in styling, foundry, modeling, etc.

      Automotive Industry: This industry continues to develop composites for lightweight vehicles. This sector presents a fast-growing and lucrative application market due to the rapid expansion of the automotive sector.

      Automotive giants like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and aircraft manufacturer based in Europe are also using tooling boards to process the production of automobiles.

      Epoxy tooling boards are used on a large scale for producing race cars, vehicles, and motorsports. This tooling board is driving for epoxy tooling boards offering a low-cost solution and quick mold preparation.

      Also, companies are developing polyurethane tooling board offering competitive performance as epoxy tooling board.

      Marine Industry: The market trends have a direct impact on the dynamics of epoxy tooling board. They are useful for creating prototypes, patterns, models, etc., used in the marine industry. Epoxy tooling boards have plasticity and toughness as compared to other types of materials.

      This prototype tool improves the rate of production and lowers the manufacturing cost of the marine industry. The usage of epoxy board reduces the machining cycle time.

      Molds can be designed and milled straight away from the tooling boards. The boards are chosen as per the specifications of customers and later they are machined with CNC equipment.

      OMNI CNC builds a bait boat/fishing boat mold with tooling board for creating molds. CNC machine allows manufacturing of highly accurate molds and they do not shrink with time, thereby maintaining the accuracy over time.

      For more information on creating boat molds, you can check this link

      If you are also looking for an effective tool for precise cutting, carving, and creating prototypes for different industries, then CNC router machine for tooling board machining is a must.