3D printing meets injection mould tooling
Toolcraft have been busy experimenting with a great new rapid injection mould tooling process - 3D printing of injection mould tools.
OK, what's so good about it ?
If you need a cost-effective and very fast way of producing a small amount mouldings, this is a great way of combining the advantages of the 3D printing and injection moulding processes.
Our simple supermarket trolley coin tool was 3D printed by Graphite Additive Manufacturing in a ceramic loaded plastic within a day! We mounted the printed tool into a Toolcraft standard tool bolster and ran it in an automatic injection moulding machine and made the coins with good results in a range of materials: ABS, polypropylene, Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) and PA.
Sounds interesting. What sort of projects can i use it for ?
Ceramic plastic injection mould tools are eminently suitable for:
- very small projects – the cost per product will be cheaper and it's much faster than CNC machining each piece
- very urgent projects – you can have a batch of mouldings within a matter of days, perhaps whilst waiting for your aluminium mould tool to be produced.
- testing projects – for example plastic material shrinkage, which cannot be tested by having standard models created, can be assessed without having to commission a full blown injection mould tool.
Great, how can I get going with this ?
We're still experimenting, but if you have a project you would like to try this great technique with, please get in touch.
Ceramic loaded plastic mould tools have a much shorter life than traditional steel ones. If you're looking for an economical way to get larger volumes moulded, don't forget about our insert-only tooling option.