Limited use tooling or (DTM) by-passes the pattern and plug making steps of composite construction by machining the mold side of the surface to support direct composite part making. This is done, for instance, to cut valuable time out of a limited run program or facilitate a prototyping initiative. Symmetrix DTM projects in the past include racing sailboats Comanche and Puma’s Mar Mostro.
In 2015, Symmetrix Composite Tooling worked with Gunboat on their newly designed 78’ catamaran to construct DTM tooling for the deck and coach roof. Materials were chosen to reflect the harsh conditions the tooling would face. At the most basic level, these parts would be sitting in the North Carolina sun and were therefore painted grey (not our customary black) to better withstand the heat.
The deck for a 78’ catamaran is not a small thing. Our machine and shop were put to full use as the deck was framed, cut and fully constructed.
The coach roof, while also large, had a different level of complication. As drawn by Gunboat, there were corners and crevices where our machine would not reach. Our engineers and shop manager reviewed the drawings and came up with a solution – separate it into parts. The CAD was deconstructed and configured to optimize machine use. The pieces were constructed separately in the same methods as used on the DTM deck, then reconnected to match the original drawings.
DTM parts are often more labor intensive than pattenr construction, but the end result allows our customers to get down to business faster and more efficiently. Whether working on prototypes, or limited run production, a DTM tool can help save you time and money.