3D Printed injection mould tools: Case study and experimentation.

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Stephane Bernard Lagier

3D Printing has long been used for prototyping, however, 3D printers always been tied to certain materials that fit each technology. In recent years, industrial 3D printer manufacturers have advertised that 3D printing can be used to produce injection moulding tools in order to produce injection moulded prototypes and small series production. The value of this method is that the prototypes are manufactured with the same materials and the same process as in the actual production. This means that the mechanical properties of the part and the production tool can be tested before ramping up production.
The project’s objective was to test the 3D printer manufacturers’ claims about con- cept’s savings on both price and time, by examining the current industrial applications as well as performing a pilot study to test the implementation of the concept in a real industrial project.
Based on case studies, the concept’s economic savings were evaluated. The savings turned out to be significant for all the studied moulds when used for prototype manufac- turing. In the case of short series production, the economic viability, is highly dependent on the 3D printed forms durability, which can be difficult to determine.
The pilot study was conducted in collaboration with an experienced plastic manu- facturing company. The implementation of the concept proved to be more challenging than expected. However, much was learned from the experiment, and further systematic experiments would certainly produce improved results with good repeatability.
There is no doubt that there are great savings to be done by 3D printing injection mould tools rather than milling the tools in aluminum, but it requires planning. The com- missioning of 3D printed injection moulding tool is more difficult and time consuming than traditional metal tools. If additional tools must be printed due to unforeseen challenges during commissioning, both the cost and time-related saving decline.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2 Jun 2016
Number of pages87
External collaborator3D Printhuset A/S
Technical Manager Jakob Jørgensen jj@3dprinthuset.dk
Other
Metako
Production manager Michael Jensen mj@metako.dk
Other
ID: 234612652