Custom Injection Molding Design and Making

3D Mold Design

We offer Mold CAD Design Services to clients anywhere in the world and also have mold manufacturing capabilities as well!

3D Mold Design is the process of creating files used in the making of a mold to be used in casting metals, plastics and many other materials. The designed mold will then turn the mold material into a shaped product. For a designer to be able to make a mold, he needs to create a 3D that will be fed into a CNC machine which will in turn create the surface of the mold.

Casting

Casting is the process of heating up a metal to its liquid form then pouring it into a mold. On cooling, the metal takes up the shape of the mold’s inside surfaces. Upon hardening, the metal is removed from the mold. The metal part’s shape is now complete and ready for use or further processing.

Injection Molding

Injection Molding is the process of forming plastics using a mold. Just like casting, injection molding uses a mold to products. However, unlike casting, the plastic resin is injected under high pressure into the mold where it then is pressed into the shape and cavities inside the mold. On cooling, the plastic resin takes the shape of the mold the part is made.

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Typical Mold Tooling Materials

The mold is the tooling that is used to produce plastic parts through molding. Injection molds are only used for mass production owing to the fact that they are expensive to manufacture. Molds are typically made from hardened steel, beryllium hardened copper alloy or aluminum. Material used is chosen based on their economics. Typically, steel is more costly buts lasts longer. Molds made from pre-hardened steel are less wear resistant and are therefore used for a lower production volume most preferably of larger components. On the Rockwell-C scale, pre-hardened steel measures between 38 and 45. Molds made from hardened steel require to be heat treated right after machining to make them more heat and wear resistant which helps to increase their lifespan.

Molds made of aluminum are less expensive compared to steel molds, however, higher grades of aluminum such as QC-7 and QC-10 could be machined using modern computerized equipment to make them viable for the molding of hundreds of thousands of parts. This enables aluminum molds to offer a quick turnaround and faster production cycles since it has better heat dissipation. They can also be coated to make them more wear resistant depending on application and production run.

Test Molding

Test molding is highly recommended method when transitioning from prototype to mass production. A test mold differs from a manufacturing mold because it is made out of a hard plastic or 3D printed material (or other if required) for the use in casting a prototype or a small number of parts. Unlike the metal mold, the test mold cannot be reused many times and is therefore discarded after a few production cycles. A test mold is only a fraction of the cost of a metal manufacturing mold but saves huge amounts of project cost should the design need further refining after the prototyping & testing phase. For this reason a test mold is only relevant for further prototyping & testing and low volume runs.
The benefits of test molding are…

It is less costly

If you placed an order for the manufacturing metal mold then later realize that your design has flaws, it will be very costly to rework the mold. Reworking a faulty mold is sometimes almost as expensive as the mold itself. Making a test mold is only 10-20% of the cost of a mass production metal mold. By purchasing a test mold prior to manufacturing, you guarantee that your parts are fully functional before making the manufacturing metal mold. Further, it saves you the incredible potential losses you could incur if your order for mass production results in a flawed product. For this reason, test molding is highly recommended and rarely does J – CAD Inc. make a mass production mold without first creating a test mold and getting 100% approval on the test products from the client.

It allows you to test your products functionality

Your idea could work well theoretically but could contain numerous flaws in real life. Designing a prototype and testing it allows you to realize any design flaws and optimize the functionality of you product. Doing this before you order your manufacturing mold and mass production is extremely important.

It enables you to test the performance of several materials

Through test molding and prototyping you are able to test the performance of numerous materials to find out which one works best with your design. With test molding we can cost effectively manufacture many prototypes in different materials. When testing the materials we can work with you and help choose the best one suited to your product keeping in mind a cost effective material that does not hinder your products performance.

It gives you confidence in your product

When you produce a prototype using a test mold and it performs to your expectations, you can be sure the rest of the products will be the exact same that are produced through mass production means. This gives you confidence in your product’s functionality and mass production order.

It is therefore highly recommended that you use a test mold prior to the manufacture of the metal mold that will be used for mass production.

Here is a job J – CAD Inc. did for the Santa Clara Justice Building in Santa Clara, California at the heart of Silicon Valley. We were provided with a 2D drawing of the State of California Seal. We created a negative 3D file which they used for CNC purposes to carve into a mold. Then concrete was cast into the mold and the finished product is shown here.

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