“Are we there yet?”
For some time now, Catalyst has been developing a viable process of 3D printing molds for use in our plastic injection presses. The infamous question asked while on any journey worth taking- “Are we there yet?” has been uttered more than a few times around here. Until recently, the answer has been, “No, not yet … just a bit further.”
Catalyst has explored the goal of offering 3D printed molds because of two notable commitments to our clients:
- Press forward on innovation to deliver a higher level of quality or savings in time and cost.
- Ensure that the findings are reliable, repeatable and of tangible benefit.
To speed up our exploration of printed molds while reserving press time for clients, we invested in a small tabletop press from APSX based out of Ohio. Acquiring the dedicated press for printed mold experimentation proved to be the difference maker.
Obviously, there is a significant time-saving factor to printing molds as opposed to machining them from solid blocks of aluminum or steel. Oftentimes, a simple part can be molded much quicker using a 3D printed mold. This benefit supports a positive answer to our first commitment by providing a savings in time, but is it reliable, repeatable and of tangible benefit?
“Yes, we’re there now.”
The short answer is, yes. However, the specific goals and requirements of our clients vary greatly, so the real answer to that question is a bit beyond the scope of this blog post.
We have created a video that dives into the subject, and it may help you decide if the process we’ve developed is of a benefit to your project.
If you are more inclined to read up on our findings, click here for a transcript of the video. Just know that at Catalyst, we’re all about options and aim to find a solution that works for you.
If you need help with the design of a printed mold or have a part you would like to submit, simply Get in Touch.