fused granular fabrication, hybrid manufacturing, large area additive manufacturing, vacuum infusion, composites, tooling design, wear, durability, surface finish, VARTM


Large area additive manufacturing (LAAM) has the capability to create tooling that is lower cost than conventionally manufactured tooling and still has sufficient properties for many applications. A vacuum infusion mold was printed from fiberglass-ABS and evaluated for wear and suitability for small vacuum infusion runs. The mold was designed to accentuate high wear as a “worst case” scenario. The mold was able to produce 10 parts successfully before any noticeable change occurred to the surface finish. By 14 parts, the surface finish had roughened sufficiently that demolding was difficult and resulted in damage to the part. Profilometry measurements showed a 7x increase in roughness over the run. No significant tool wear or change in geometry was detected. Even longer life would be expected for typical tooling designs since the test mold was deliberately designed to accentuate wear and demolding issues. Based on these results, similar LAAM molds are a feasible option for short run vacuum infusion production for prototyping or low-volume composites manufacturing, at lower cost than aluminum molds.

Original Publication Citation

Northrup, N., Weaver, J. M., and George, A. R., “Durability of Vacuum Infusion Tooling Produced from Large Area Additive Manufacturing,” 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Manufacturing Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Included in

Manufacturing Commons