3D Printed Templates: everything you need to know
Injection molding is one of the most widely used manufacturing processes in the world and 3D-printed molds is being used increasingly to create prototype parts to detect problems in shape, fit and/or function of parts.

In addition, this is a more economical and faster practice for the validation of mold cavities before machining of the final part, since errors and the need for refitting can be very expensive and hinder production. Currently, 3D printers have already evolved a lot in relation to possible thermoplastics that can be printed directly.

Luiz Antonio Junior, a production engineer at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), explains that "a mold printed in 3D with a photopolymer plastic, injected with a hot plastic liquid, would not melt in the process, because when working with 3D printers , it is possible to come up with a mixture of synthetic materials that supports high temperatures and pressures."

Therefore, it is possible to adapt 3D printers to handle different modeling environments, according to the demand of a sustainable market.

 "All injection molding tools are printed in 3D, using digital material and CAD modeling software, which have distinct material properties ideal for the production of parts in low volume - high resistance to temperature and firmness," explains Junior. 

Benefits of 3D Printing of Plastic Injection Molds

>> Time savings compared to the machined process - between 50% and 90% faster;
>> Reduction of costs during the final phase of development - between 50% and 70%;
>> Obtaining parts in the final production material for real functional validation;
>> Physical creation of the injection mold automatically - simplified process through 3D printing;
>> Confirmation before the creation of the final injection molds of the thermoplastic selection.

 Remember that the goal of a 3D-printed mold is not to replace the production tool, but rather to reduce the product development cycle by replacing the machined tools quickly and at a much lower cost in aluminum.

When are 3D-printed molds indicated for plastic injection?

>> In low to moderate melting point conditions <300° C (570° F) and good melt flow rate - candidates: PE, PP, PS, ABS, TPE, PA, POM, PC-ABS or polypropylene resins with glass;
>> When a small quantity of parts is needed – from 5 to 100 units;
>> When the size of the piece varies from small to medium - part volume less than 165 cm3 -, and injection pressure of a maximum of 80 tons;
>> When the part requires a design check and anticipated functionality, thus avoiding rework in the production molds.

The production engineer cites Unilever as an excellent case for actual use of 3D-printed molds, where this process reduced the total time between the start of the project and a prototype in the final material for consumer validation 40%.

 

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PLÁSTICO BRASIL – Feira Internacional do Plástico e da Borracha (International Plastic and Rubber Exhibition)
Date: March 25 – 29, 2019
Venue: São Paulo Expo Exhibition & Convention Center
Sponsorship: ROMI
Information: www.plasticobrasil.com.br