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3D printed injection mould tooling continued...

There was a lot of interest in our experiments with 3D printed injection mould tools. Since then, we've been trying different 3D printing techniques with our 3D printing partners and we've had even better results.

So, what has improved ?

The new printing technique massively increased the number of shots we managed to make before the tool wore out, from about 100 to 888. We moulded the following materials with very good results: HIPS, polypropylene, Acetal, glass-filled polyester and thermoplastic elastomer. When we used flame-retardant ABS and Polycarbonate the tool started to deteriorate, and finally 3 shots of Polyamide 6 killed it completely !

Excellent. What sort of projects can you recommend this for ?

Well, it depends what you need really. At this stage, the process is still too unpredictable to be truly able to guarantee output and quality. Thermoplastic elastomer is our current favourite material for the process, as it makes the best mouldings and doesn't cause any damage to the tool. And the simpler the product is, the longer the tool is going to last.

 

We think the technique is best for low quantity projects that will never become long run; for urgent projects, where you need to have mouldings within days and are waiting for your alloy of steel tooling to be produced; or for testing projects where the product needs to be made in a specific material so that ordinary models are not suitable.

I'd like to try this. What do I do ?

The process is still in its early stages, but we're looking for more suitable projects to experiment with. If you have a project you think may be suitable, please get in touch.

Finally, don't forget about our other economical tooling options:

  • insert-only tooling
  • aluminium alloy tooling
  • steel tooling
  • china-made, uk guaranteed tooling