For many years, injection molding has been the first choice for mass plastic production. A large number of plastic products that we use or see every day are produced by injection molding. However, the molds required for injection molding are usually made of metal, and are often very expensive and time-consuming to manufacture. This is an obvious shortcoming for businesses looking for fast and low-cost production.
What kind of help can 3D printing provide for injection mold manufacturing?
In the past, because 3D printing technology could not provide satisfactory surface finish and precision and could not be mass produced, it was mainly used in the prototyping phase of the product production cycle. However, with the continuous development of 3D printing technology and materials, 3D printing can already achieve a better surface finish, and the materials are more diverse. Some producers have begun to try to produce small batches by 3D printing plastic molds. The continuous development of 3D printing also makes it possible for 3D printing injection molds to become an excellent alternative to traditional metal molds.
The advantages of 3D printing for injection mold manufacturing are:
1. Compared with machined metal molds, the investment is reduced;
2. Reduce the cost of materials;
3. Speed up capital and product turnaround time;
4. Rapid prototyping provides convenience for design changes and iterations;
5. Complicated workpiece processing can be carried out;
6. Let small producers have the opportunity to develop their own small manufacturing business.Can any 3D printing materials be used to make injection molds?
Currently, there are various 3D printing materials on the market, but not all 3D printing materials are suitable for making injection molds. The injection molding process is strict, and it requires the mold to resist significant temperature changes. In addition, taking out the product from the mold sometimes requires a lot of operations. If the material does not have sufficient strength and toughness, it may cause the mold to deform.
Similarly, the material you use should be able to achieve a certain degree of high precision and smoothness required for molding, while ensuring a certain tolerance.
Can 3D printing be used for injection mold manufacturing?
Unfortunately, this technology is still not perfect. In some cases, using 3D printing for injection mold manufacturing may not be the best choice because there may be some disadvantages. For example, the effectiveness of 3D printed molds is limited to small batch production, so if you plan to mass produce from the beginning, it is best to think carefully, otherwise it may get half the result with half the effort.
Also, keep in mind that the durability of 3D printing materials is still not as good as the materials used in traditional injection molds. Therefore, even a mold made of the most durable printing materials will not have the same durability as traditional industrial molds.
However, when using 3D printing for injection mold manufacturing, there are some ways to increase the success rate. For example, simplify the manufacturing process during the design process, or use other materials to increase strength and provide support for the mold.