At FET Engineering, we provide premium quality vacuum forming tooling for the automotive industry. The tooling pictured here is used for in-mold grain lamination of a full automotive interior door panel. The base plate measures 2100 mm in length and 670 mm in width with an 850 mm stack height. The mold was created by wrapping the model onto the master mandrel which was then transferred to the plating mandrel in order to form the nickel shell. The electroformed nickel shell was then mounted into the frame which contained the water lines and thermocouples for precise temperature control during the vacuum forming process.

The tooling was fabricated to tolerances as tight as ±0.125 mm with a tolerance of +/- 0.05-0.1 microns required for the grain surface detail. A variety of testing and inspection methods were employed to verify all tooling met the specified standards. The grain detail, gap checks, and alignment were inspected by experienced quality personnel. CMM equipment and a FaroArm laser scanning system were used to perform dimensional inspections. Additional quality control measures included ultrasonic thickness testing and trim blade tuning. One set of front and rear doors, the glove box door, and the knee bolster tooling were fabricated as a part of this project, with a total turnaround time of 22 weeks. For additional details about this custom electroformed nickel tooling project, see the table below, or contact us directly.

In-Mold Grain Lamination (IMGL) Vacuum Form Tool Project Details

Product Name

In-Mold Grain Lamination (IMGL) Tool

Product Description

Double Cavity In-Mold Grain Lamination (IMGL) Vacuum Form Tool for an Automotive Full Door Panel

Capabilities Applied/Processes


  • Wrap Model copied to Master Mandrel copied to Plating Mandrel to create an Electroformed Nickel Shell, Mounted into a Frame with Water Lines & Thermocouple


Equipment Used to Manufacture Part

Plating tanks with solution and electricity
NC Mills & Fabrication Tools

Overall Part Dimensions

Base Plate: 2100 mm Length x 670 mm Width x 850 mm Stack Height

Tightest Tolerances

+/- 0.125 mm
A Surface Grain Detail +/- 0.05-0.1 microns (0.0005 – 0.001 mm)

Material Used

Electrolytic Nickel, Steel, Aluminum

In process testing/inspection performed

Ultrasonic Thickness, Rockwell Hardness, CMM Machine, FaroArm Laser Scan, Visual Grain Inspection, Gap Checks, Alignment, Trim Blade Tuning

Industry for Use

Automotive Interior


1 Set of Front & Rear Doors, Glove Box Door & Knee Bolster Tools that will run for the lifespan of the program

Delivery/Turnaround Time

22 Weeks

Delivery Location


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