Injection Mould Tools FAQ
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about injection mould tools.
Q: Which method is most suitable for my part, injection moulding or vac forming ?
As a guide - use vac forming if your parts thickness is uniform, A4 paper size or more & the annual quantities needed are low (10-5000) OR use injection moulding if your parts wall thickness differs, is less than A4 paper size & annual quantities needed are medium-high (1000-100,000+). Also read our more detailed injection moulding vs vacuum forming explanation.
Q: I have CAD files of my parts, are the files of use to you ?
Yes! We can use them to carry out a quote, create tool drawings and even make mould tools saving you both time and money - DXF, DWG, IGES, Parasolid, Pro-Engineer, STEP, SAT & SolidWorks are all usable.
Q: I have existing plastic parts but no CAD data, can you still quote ?
Yes, we need a sample, sketch, drawing or photo of your parts with sizes plus details of any existing tooling. Please also confirm the plastic material types or thickness needed OR properties you need the parts to have e.g. UV light resistance, working temperature of XXºc and the batch quantities, colours or transparency needed. If you prefer, Contact us or complete our Enquiry Form which lists the info we need.
Q: I've got existing mould tools - can you fit them in your machines & make mouldings for me ?
Yes, we accept mould tool transfers and can adapt a range of tools to to run semi-automatically in our moulding machines: soft aluminium, prototype, steel & tools with load in inserts, as well as Austin Allen, Boy & Manumold mould tools. Having your existing mould tool adapted to run semi-automatically will save you time & money and will result in better quality mouldings & longer tool life due to stable moulding conditions.
Q: Do you make the injection mould tools, vacuum forming tools and injection mouldings yourself ?
We provide product design and make injection mouldings, vacuum formings & more here in the UK. We now mostly use our Chinese partner to make mould tools for you at very competitive prices. Our Chinese Mould Tools option gives you the competitive pricing from China with the peace of mind that UK Quality control & guarantees bring.
Q: Do you make injection mould tools for other companies to mould from ?
Yes, as long as the parts are within our moulding capacity so we can test the mould tools. However, we prefer to make the mouldings as well so that you benefit from our experience & quality control.
Q: I'd like product identification, text instructions or logos on my mouldings - is this possible ?
We can do this for both vac forming & injection moulding in a number of ways. Text or logos can be engraved on mould tools to be either recessed or stood up on the injection moulding or vac forming or it can be hot foil or pad printed on the parts after moulding or forming.
Q: Do I own the mould tool once it's been made ?
Unless we've quoted for insert only tools (see below), once you've fully paid for the tool you own it. Simple as that.
Q: You've quoted for a tool insert / insert only mould tool - what does this mean ?
This means you only pay for and own a cavity & core tool insert which fits into one of our common outer tool bolsters. If you then decide to get another company to make the mouldings for you, you'll need to pay us or them to make an outer tool bolster to accept your cavity & core tool insert. Insert Only Mould Tools is a cost-effective solution for products with short runs.
Q: I've had a quote from a rapid tooling company which is cheaper with a shorter lead-time. Why is that ?
Make sure they've quoted you like for like - here are some things to check :-
1. Many rapid tooling companies ask you to supply your own material – you'll also need to make sure that the material you choose is right for your product. We advise you on your material choice and our quote includes the material cost.
2. Many rapid tooling companies have design limitations and you'll need to adapt your design to fit their manufacturing process - they won't guarantee your specific part tolerances are met. We stick to your design and the tolerances you need and will use our extensive toolmaking & injection moulding experience to advise if there is a better, more economical way to make your product. At Toolcraft, a designer will look at your product, not a computer.
3. Most rapid tooling companies make their tooling out of aluminium only - no problem if you only need a few parts, but if you're going into production, you'll have to pay again for a new, stronger tool. We make your tool out of steel, allowing you to make as few as 10 or upto millions of parts.
For more things to consider when choosing a moulder, read our Comparing Plastic Injection Moulders document.
Q: Steel Mould Tools or Alloy Mould Tools - which type do you recommend ?
As a guide - Steel Mould Tools are best, especially if you need large runs of more complex mouldings; need a tool with mechanisms which constantly rub against each other to make the mouldings; or need the products made in more abrasive hard plastic types. We used to recommend alloy mould tools for people on a budget with low product runs and simple products, but the growth of our excellent Chinese Injection Moulds service now means we can offer Steel Precision Moulding Tools at very competitive prices with our own UK guarantees.
Q: What kind of moulding tolerances can you work to ?
Due to the vast range of material types & grades available, it isn't practical to suggest a single tolerance level for all types of mouldings & materials.
However, we work to & generally exceed the tolerances achievable for each material type specified by DIN standard 16 901 which can be obtained from IHS Markit - Standards Store (We also worked towards BS7010:1988 - withdrawn in January 2019).
Q: I need a particular finish on the mouldings - is this possible ?
Provided the finish is in a suitable area, we can add matt, gloss or other textures to the mould tool to do so. Colours look different on textured surfaces which needs to be taken into account when selecting colours & designing the tool. Here's a coloured textured surface example.
To read more detailed FAQ about our production processes and services, please click the links below :-