When most people think of injection molding, they think of metal tooling, quick shots, high pressure, millions of shots per mold. As the demand for customization grows, the number of shots required of the average mold is coming down. This increases the cost per part. What if we could build a mold from thermoplastic and inject plastic into it for short-run customized parts?
Can you imagine 3D printing a mold, mounting it into your press and shooting plastic within hours instead of days?
Although this is not new, it seems to be becoming more and more requested by some of our customers. Whether for a finished part, part evaluation or bridge to tooling, this application is growing. This brings up a great opportunity but also challenges. I know many companies are trying this with some success. Some of the obstacles are small, some significant. None, I believe, are insurmountable.
What successes or challenges have you had in developing injection mold tooling using FDM technology?
We would love to hear your stories.