In this Instructable I will document the process of an experiment i have been working on to test fairly low pressure injection molding using 3d printed molds.
You should be able to find everything you need for this project laying around your house:
-An initial concept and the ability to execute it in a digital format capable of exporting to a 3d printer
-a high res 3d printer
-an injection molder
-a handful of pelletized thermoplastic
Step 1: Part design
My teeny, tiny, cute, little injection molder is only capable of squirting out about 1/4 ounce of molten plastic at a time so i had to design a test part no larger than that. I was far more concerned with testing the process than actually making something useful so i just grabbed an existing 3-d file of my logo and converted it to a moldable form.
I used solidworks to extruded the shape in two directions with 7 degrees of draft on both sides from the parting line.
the final part came in at a volume of 0.238268398 ounces.
Step 2: Mold design
for this particular test i went with a really simple mold design, the mold would be split equally front to back with a few keys and a single direct injection point.
Step 3: Printing the mold
I exported an stl file of my mold pieces and set them to a high gloss option for printing thorough an objet 3-d printer.
The out put is an acrylic photo-polymer mold.
Who knows if this is even going to work?
I might just crush the mold while trying to clamp up?
Or burn it up with molten plastic durring injection?
I might lose an eye?