So much goes into creating an injection molded part, from the design team that creates the part in CAD to the quality engineers who have to fix issues that arise when a part is injected like short shots or warp. Due to all the bumps in the road injection molders encounter, the popularity of 3D printed injection molds is steadily growing.
Reduction to CNC Que
You can imagine the frustration of having to push back a job because you don’t have the bandwidth to keep up. This is why 3D printing is quickly becoming a valuable complementary tool to CNC shops. If, under the right circumstances, an injection mold that is intended for low volume production meets process conditions of the material and press clamp force, then having a 3D printer on hand can free up CNC time. This allows for a shop's CNC machines to be used for cutting larger, more expensive steel or aluminum molds which in turn allows a project to stay on schedule.
Reduction in Mold Costs
When you are producing large volumes of parts, then it makes sense to tool your mold out of durable materials such as aluminum or steel. However, for low volume production the cost of a mold sky rockets if you are not producing parts that can offset the cost of the mold tooling. Instead, you can 3D print the mold for about the tenth of the cost of an aluminum mold.
Multiple Printer Applications (ROI)
Engineering service companies and mold shops alike are finding the benefits of having a 3D printer are vast. Otentimes, print is brought in for print injection molds only but soon they become go to resources to print prototypes, jigs, fixtures, and end use parts effortlessly and for less of the normal cost.
Speed of Printing Mold
The time it takes to print an injection mold from a 3D printer can be done usually in less than a day. Multiple ink jet heads that cure layers of photopolymer mean the speed to build up a mold is done quickly.
To learn more about 3D printing and how it can help your next project, please visit our 3D printers page on our website.