3D Printing for Injection Molding

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by assistant

Injection molding is a go-to choice for most suppliers for high-volume plastic parts. CNC machining is one of the popular methods for making injection molds because of its high precision and quality. But it is expensive in terms of time and processing costs.

If your budget is limited and the project is urgent, and you plan to make molds of non-metallic materials, 3D printing can help you complete the production in a shorter time and at a lower cost.

This article will show you the advantages, limitations, and tips on how to make injection molds by 3D printing.

3D Printed Molds

4 Advantages of 3D Printing to Create Injection Molds:

1. Small batch production. If you choose 3D printing to make molds, it needs lower processing costs. It is because the cost-effective materials include ABS and polyethylene.

At the same time, the cost of initial printing is not that high. Thus, 3D printing is the best way to make economical molds.

2. Lower cost. Because the materials used are plastic (including ABS, PP, PA, TPE, etc.) instead of aluminum or steel, the material cost is lower.

And the cost of 3D printers is much cheaper than that of CNC machines, and it needs less time to print. When making small batch mold projects, it is cost-effective to choose 3D printing.

3. Professionalism. If you choose CNC processing, it generally requires a job with many years of processing experience to operate the machine while ensuring the high precision of the processed parts. 3D printing requires less professionalism for operators.

4. Flexible design. When the mold design has a complex internal and external structure, 3D printing can help you realize it. For designers, this undoubtedly gives them more design space.

3D Printed Plastic Molds

Limitations Of 3D Printing To Make Injection Molds:

3D printing can help you make molds with complex designs quickly, but you need to focus on its limitations.

  • Tolerance. Compared with metal materials, plastics are prone to warping during cooling, which will directly affect the height difference of the mold. If you have high tolerance requirements for molds, then 3D printing will not be your ideal choice.
  • Structure. The plastic mold produced by 3D printing can withstand high temperatures and lower pressure, which can easily lead to the degradation of the mold gate. And it can not achieve strong structural integrity of the mold.

What Should Be Paid Attention To When Using 3D Printing To Make Molds?

1. Surface finish. Compared with CNC machining, the surface of parts produced by 3D printing is relatively rough. After general processing, the manual department needs to use specific sandpaper to polish the surface of the parts to increase its surface finish.

2. Size. CNC machining can make larger molds, but 3D printing can print smaller molds.

3. Quantity. 3D printing is only suitable for small-batch production.