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As 3D printing expands its reach into traditional manufacturing processes, manufacturers increasingly are considering ways in which this technology can improve conventional methods. A white paper published by Stratasys (Eden Prairie, MN) explores how 3D printing is allowing companies to build injection molds and functionally test parts in final materials within days of initial design.

PlasticsToday Staff

July 16, 2015

1 Min Read
When 3D printing is a game changer in moldmaking

As 3D printing expands its reach into traditional manufacturing processes, manufacturers increasingly are considering ways in which this technology can improve conventional methods. A white paper published by Stratasys (Eden Prairie, MN) explores how 3D printing is allowing companies to build injection molds and functionally test parts in final materials within days of initial design.

stratasys-nypro-350.jpg

Component part created by Nypro to test injection molding
using 3D-printed mold.

While 3D-printed tooling has limited applications, there are cases where it can be a game changer, says the white paper. When it comes to the production of prototype or low-volume final parts, for example, it offers several advantages: In bridge production, 3D printing can slash months from typical product delivery schedules and it can be a cost-effective method for the production of tooling on demand, eliminating hard tooling costs and delays.

Digital ABS, which simulates standard ABS by combining temperature resistance with toughness, is the best material for printing injection molds, adds the white paper.

The white paper includes several case studies including the description of a series of tests conducted by Nypro, a global supplier of precision plastic products for the healthcare and packaging industries headquartered in Clinton, MA. Sample ABS parts were molded in a single 3D-printed mold made from Digital ABS. Based on parameters such as maximum pressure, cushion and core and cavity temperatures, Nypro concluded that "3D printing cores and cavities can be considered an advantage in terms of time, initial functionality evaluations and cost."

The white paper can be downloaded free of charge (registration required).

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