Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost?


Our pricing varies depending on the specific details of each unique fixture. Primary cost drivers are size, geometric complexity, programming requirements, machine hours, substrate of base or encapsulating materials, quantity of tools, etc. Generally speaking, our LM'seconomically priced compared to equivalent performing tools made of Invar, and we find the larger the tools, the greater the comparative savings. Our vacuum fixtures tend to be commensurate or less expensive than aluminum or even tooling board fixtures but perform much more effectively.




What are your products made of?


Vacu-Grip™ and Ravin™ LM's are proprietary materials developed by Technical Tooling, using a special mixture of granular media and binders. Our fixtures use a multitude of substrates for our encasements, bases, and frames.




How many cycles will your product last (for LM's)? How long for both layup molds & vacuum fixtures?


Vacu-Grip™ vacuum fixtures are ideal production tools. Many have been in production for many years and used for thousands of trim cycles.

Ravin™ LM's are ideal for short-run programs. We recommend 20-50 cycles, however, their longevity is highly dependent on how the surface is treated throughout the layup process. The low CTE base material will last for hundreds of cycles (If not longer); however, our surface coatings are off the shelf solutions with limited life before they require re-finishing. Call us to find out if this is the right solution for your application.




Will your products hold our material or work for our process?


Vacu-Grip™ vacuum fixtures are ideal for most applications where vacuum is a viable solution. The applied force, feeds, and speeds will ultimately determine a successful outcome, however, Vacu-Grip™ is used for holding everything from carbon fiber to various metal alloys. Contact us with specific details of your project.




What is the lead time?


Our lead times depend on our current pipelines, the size and scope of the specific project. Most full tool fixture projects start at 6 weeks. We often pack customer made fixtures with our Vacu-Grip™ material, which often can be done in under 2 weeks.




Can I ship my part to be packed and have it shipped back for machining?


Yes




Do you make the tools or sell the material?


95% of the time, we make the tools. For certain applications, it may make sense to purchase a plate or block of raw Vacu-Grip™ material from us directly. Our process's efficiencies stem from the fact that we can form tools to near net shape instead of joining blocks of our material only to be substantially machined away, as is the case with tooling boards or metal fixtures. We do not currently sell our material in its A or B stage.




Can I get a sample?


A signed NDA and vetting of the company and project are required for us to provide samples.




How do we repair It?


Depending on the damage, often time putty/surface filler/bondo is a quick and effective immediate fix. For larger fixes, depending on the damage and timelines, we will either receive the tool and repair in-house or for smaller patchwork, we have plugs we can send out to be bonded in. We can also guide you through resurfacing of our LM's.




Do you work with other materials in addition to composites?


Our primary focus is our proprietary material. We work with other composites and are also capable of metal fabrication, machining, and turning. We work with a multitude of substrates such as tooling boards, plastics, and various coatings.




Can your layup molds processing handle more than just flat surfaces?


Regardless of our tooling solutions, we can do flat as well as complex geometries. We are well versed in 5-axis programming and machining.




Do your workholding solutions have limitations with temperature applications?


Our standard solutions range from 250°f to 350°f applied temperature range. We have options for higher ranges for specific applications under development.




How will Vacu-Grip™ save me money?


Our Vacu-Grip™ material allows us to build to near net shape eliminating the need for wasted material and machine time compared to producing conventional vacuum fixtures. Also, tool and part changeover is accomplished within seconds, reducing cycle times from one part trim to the next. With convenient locating features, stronger holding force, and chatter reduction, our tools are your best option to reduce scrap rates in the critical trim phase of operations.




How will Ravin™ save me money?


Ravin LM's™ has a CTE of approx. 3.3 x x10^-6 in/in/°f nearly matching carbon fiber, resulting in tool stability within the 350°F range. As a result, cured parts come off our tools within tolerance and spec. With near-equivalent performance, we can save program costs dramatically when compared to invar™ tools. The repair or modification process of Ravin™ LM's is also considerably less involved than conventional LM's, typically avoiding a need to replace the tool altogether for damaged tools or even modest design revisions.




What is the scalability of your tools?


Nearly limitless. Because of the state our material originates from when forming our tools and the fact that our material can bond to itself post-cure without degrading its structural integrity, we can scale to just about any size required.




How can I determine if you can meet my project's needs?


Simply call us at 253-327-1149 for a free consult, email us at sales@technicaltooling.com, or fill out our short form on the “Contact” page. We will reach out to you within 24-48 hours.




Where are you located?


We are located in the industrial Tideflats area of Tacoma, WA. We are approx. 30 miles south of Seattle and conveniently located amongst Washington state's prestigious aerospace community.




Is It flammable?


For all Intents and purposes, our material is not flammable. Our base material has an autoignition point well above 600ºf and is self-extinguishing within seconds.





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If you don't find your answer here or would like to talk through your specific project, please contact us.