The remarkable breakthroughs offered by 3D printing have made a major impact on the injection molding process and industry. Also called "additive manufacturing", 3D printing produces parts through a material layering process.
Often used to prototype a product, this process can act as a final design proving - as well as a means to assess the final design. This means providing a simple method for verifying the testing, fit and functionality of parts before being injection molded.
Injection Molding Advances Use of 3D Printed Parts
The biggest advantage continues to be the ease this process allows for the physical testing of a design, which results in reducing your product’s time to market. Parts that have thin walls and complex geometries - parts that are durable or even those providing a bridge-part function can all be 3D printed.
Mass production using 3D printing does include its challenges. Even though this additive manufacturing process can quickly produce sample parts at very low cost - the selection of printed plastics remains limited as well as the difference in surface finish and each part would have to be finished individually increasing labor costs.
Moving Your 3D Printed Parts into Major Production
When designers create a part for additive manufacturing with the intent to produce the product through the injection molding process a few things should be considered. First, design draft into the part, so when it comes time for injection molding you won’t have to return to the CAD file and modify the design.
Also apply other modifications to include features specifically needed to reduce stress concentrations that apply both to 3D printing and injection molding. Some of these features include sharp corners and radii and ensure smooth changes from thin walls to thicker walls this will reduce the potential of warping for the injection molded part.
These changes are needed for smooth transitions and will prevent shifting to injection molding from becoming overwhelming.Read More