Injection Molding for Mass Production

If you are creating new products and are at the production planning phase, you should consider the most efficient way to produce a lot quickly.  Injection molding does just that and it is also on the environmentally friendly side of things.  Read about what Hackaday suggests in the article below.

Designing Products With Injection Molding In Mind

by: Bob Baddeley  June 5, 2017

3D printing is a technique we’ve all been using for ages at home, or via Shapeways, but if you are designing a product, 3D printing will only get you so far. It’s crude, slow, expensive, and has lots of limitations. While it’s great for the prototyping stage, ultimately products manufactured in volume will be manufactured using another method, and most likely it will be injection molding. Knowing how to design a part for injection molding means you can start prototyping with 3D printing, confident that you’ll be able to move to a mold without major changes to the design.

The 2017 Hackaday Prize includes a $30,000 prize for Best Product as we seek products that not only show a great idea, but are designed for manufacturing and have thought through what it takes to get them into the hands of the users. Some of the entries seem to be keenly aware of the challenges associated with moving from prototyping to production. Here are some examples of best practices when prototyping with future injection molding in mind.

SNAPBLOKS – REUSABLE MOLDS

SnapBloks is building interactive modular blocks that each have different functions, from power to temperature monitoring, playing sound, turning on LEDs, and moving motors. The blocks snap together with magnets. Having a modular block-based system like this means many products to build and stock. This means a lot of inventory and parts to source. It could also mean many different injection molded pieces. One thing SnapBloks did well is to have the same top piece for each of their blocks, differentiated by color. Running the injection mold with one color, then switching to a different color gives the look of a different product without having to do additional expensive molds.

One mold, multiple products. Reuse your molds if possible.

Wherever possible, try to reduce the number of molds you need. SnapBloks may still need a lot of molds for their bottom halves, but reusing the top is a good plan.

SNAPPCAT – SIMPLE MOLDS

SnappCat is a device that takes pictures of your cat, a sorely needed product in an age where there are not enough cat pictures on the Internet. A simple mold will open and close and eject a part without resistance. This means the part can’t have any features that would “lock” the part into the mold, like a side hole or overhang.

If side features are required, this is accomplished in the mold with a slide, which is a third piece of the mold that slides in from the side and then comes out before the part is ejected. Slides can be expensive, but side holes are still a necessity in enclosures. The way to do that is to have your holes be at the union of the front and back of the enclosure, so that each side of the enclosure has 1 or more sides of the hole. SnappCat’s design has that built into their 3D printed mold. Notice that 3 sides of the hole are in the purple part, and the back part will cover up the final side, making a complete hole without a complicated mold.

Continue reading: http://hackaday.com/2017/06/05/designing-products-with-injection-molding-in-mind/

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