This is an overview of the process to create a 3D printed injection mold. For detailed steps, material information and cost comparisons with traditional methods, see the white paper “Precision Prototyping: The role of 3D printed molds in the injection molding industry.”
1. Design the mold
Designing a 3D printed injection mold is much the same as designing the final mold. A few considerations, such as increasing draft angles and gate size, and using sprue or edge gates rather than tunnel or point gates, will increase part quality and mold life.
2. Print the mold
PolyJet 3D Printing offers a glossy mode, which you should use to achieve the smoothest possible tooling. Print your mold so that layer lines are oriented in the same direction in which polymer will eventually flow into the mold.
3. Optional finishing
Many molds require no post-processing and are ready to use right away. Refer to this white paper for best practices on when and how to post-process your mold.
4. Mount the mold
5. Produce your prototype
When working with a 3D printed injection mold, manufacturing time is slightly longer per part than with conventional tooling. This white paper offers guidelines for a successful process.