In the past, additive manufacturing was absent from injection molding, making injection molding realistic for only a handful of large companies that could afford the high cost, production demand and risk related to the process.
Thanks to 3D printing, this is no longer the case — additive manufacturing is capable of producing end use parts and prototypes at the fraction of the cost, and time, of traditional or non-3D printed injection molding.
Materials such as medical grade materials, acetal, elastomers and polycarbonates have been tested and successfully injected into 3D printed molds — revolutionizing the way we work with various materials and apply it to its respective setting. This means medical, industrial and engineering industries now rely on 3D printed injection molding that will save companies time, money, and in some cases — save lives.
Curt Thornton, Teleflex Principle Engineer for Surgical R&D, agrees, “I’ve been really impressed with the insert molds made from the 3D Systems printer. These tools really give us an assembly that represents a production process at a fraction of the cost.”
Additionally, the 3D printed molds improve turnaround times on projects because molds can be designed in as little as a day, compared to a timeline that may take weeks in traditional soft/hard tooling.
Another unique benefit of 3D printing is digital library for molds and other parts from the project that can be referenced at anytime, and can be shared with anyone. It’s also important to note 3D printing molds will last hundreds of times in the production process, depending on the material, an important feature when short production runs are necessary.
“Small-scale injection molding processes are more approachable,” Evan Merrill, Miller 3D, and mentions the playing field has been leveled, referring to the shift from traditional injection molding to additive manufacturing injection molding.
Pushing the limits of traditional manufacturing, 3D printing has paved the way for injection molding to become apart of various industries’ manufacturing processes. Today, injection molding with 3D printing offers various benefits that may have been an afterthought a decade ago, and Miller 3D is at the forefront of this revolution.
About Miller 3D
Miller 3D Printing is a division of AW Miller, a leader in machine tool technology solutions and the exclusive distributor in Pennsylvania and New York for Mazak Corporation, the largest machine tool builder in the world.
Today, Miller 3D Printing is at the forefront of this revolutionary technology, helping customers internationally to benefit from all the advantages of 3D printing. The company recognized early on that new 3D printing technologies were the perfect complement to the metalworking and manufacturing solutions it has offered for more than 40 years.