Re: RP&T not ready for making EDM electrodes at all.....

From: Nick Osborn (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2001 - 16:32:44 EET


Good luck with your project - we did some similar research a few years ago, and our findings pointed to a clear need for a system which would enable the manufacture of complex injection mould tools without the need for large, complex (and hence time consuming & expensive) EDM electrodes to be made.

There are some well proven and quite widely understood processes for achieving this end (including the processes you mention) but we felt there was a need for a fresh approach to the problem. This was one of the factors that led us to develop Swiftool.

We advocate the use of mature existing technologies in concert with more recent innovations to get the end result of a complex mould tool in as short a time as possible.

e.g. RP master pattern + machined / sparked side actions where needed + composite material mould = accurate, complex tool in shortest time.

Tool life is obviously a factor in the equation, similarly tolerance, surface finish etc.

In summary, we believe that a multi-faceted approach, using each technology to its best potential, will outperform any single technology which claims to "do it all" every time.

Sounds obvious, I guess, but you would be surprised how strongly vested interests can be represented when it comes to evaluating one technology vs another. A good example of this would be the evolving discussions on the pros and cons of "rapid manufacturing"...

Kind regards


Nick Osborn
Managing Director
Swift Technologies Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 1354 650 789

"Real Parts Real Quick - Because Time is Money"

>>> <> 15/11/01 12:30:33 >>>

Dear list members,

We are currently working on a project, which focuses on using RP&T to
generate EDM (spark erosion) electrodes. The last few years we have visited
a lot of international congresses, we have seen the results of many research
projects. Electroplating RP-models, casting Cu, trying to SLS a whole
variety of materials. We decided to see whether any of those had become
applicable yet. We found funding to run EDM tests on all different offered
techniques. Thus we Emailed most of the people who had been working on these
projects, and placed a request on the RPML inviting people to quote on our
test-model. Doing so we also promised to make the results available to the
So: The only three (?) who dared to take the challenge: Caproin Spain,
Keltool, and Stratoconception France! After all that has been said about
this subject on the RPML we had hoped for some more response. Conclusion:
Apparently there is a lot of research to be done for RP&T to become serious
EDM electrode-producers, which are commercially competitive in time and
costs compared to conventional techniques.... Suggestions and / or remarks
are welcome, even as people who want to give it a try after all....

Best regards to all,

Bart Kooijmans

Ing. N.M.J.P. Kooijmans

Prototyping and Tooling engineer
TNO Industrial Technology
Department Industrial Prototyping Project:
P.O. Box 6235
5612 AP Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Tel. (+31) 040-26 50 128,
Fax (+31) 040-26 50 678
E-mail <>

Visit TNO-Industrial Prototyping and Tooling at:

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