Custom Plastic Injection Molding
3D print molds for prototyping in the final material PolyJet 3D Printing has made it feasible to quickly create custom injection molds that produce low volumes of parts in the final production plastic. This is especially useful for prototypes, which can now be created onsite in just hours, from mold design to final test product, using the normal plastic injection molding process and production materials for accurate functional testing.
Custom Injection Molding With 3D Printed Tooling
Prototypes are most useful when they’re made of the same plastic as the final production part. And during product development, quick feedback is essential. But it’s hard to justify the cost to create injection molded prototypes when they require the same expensive, time-consuming tooling as production parts — even though you only need a small quantity of parts for testing.
3D printing your prototype molds in-house with PolyJet technology offers a fast, affordable way to produce injection molded prototypes. Designers and engineers can test their work more frequently and more accurately, and go to production with confidence. Product managers can shrink time to market and products can turn out better.
PolyJet Injection Molds
PolyJet technology creates smooth, detailed, accurate molds. Digital ABS 3D printing material is strong enough to hold up to short injection molding runs of about 10 to 100 parts. You can install the 3D printed mold directly onto your injection molding machine. If testing reveals that you need to make a design improvement, you can alter the mold in directly in CAD and 3D print the next iteration. Depending on size, the new mold can be printed and ready to inject in just a few hours.
PolyJet 3D printed molds are not production tools. But during the design and testing phase, they offer a clear advantage over conventional injection molding. Product designers and manufacturers can use these molds to perform thorough functional testing without worrying about cost-prohibitive tooling. Flaws based on the final production process, geometry or choice of plastic can be discovered early, when they are easiest to fix. This can reduce costly, time-consuming mold corrections, increase product innovation and speed product development.
When to Use PolyJet Tooling
PolyJet 3D Printing is a good method for creating prototype injection molds when:
- Complex geometry would make traditional tooling difficult
- Low quantities are needed
- Design changes are likely
- Rapid prototyping from the final production plastic is important