Is our online 3D printing service right for your mold?

Before you design a 3D printed mold, it is important to consider the boundaries. With our current material and process the mold is best used for low to medium series production at low pressure (1 bar pressure difference) and low temperatures (up to 100C mould temperature). We achieve a tolerance of 2 mm and surface roughness of 250 µm with our 3D printing process.

If a 3D model is used as a mold, typically a polished or coated surface is recommended, which you can indicate during the ordering process.

It is advised to use standard agents on your moulds. However, we strongly advise to test your standard agents first on a small surface of your mold. PVA or a release film can be used to ensure the maximum usage quantity.

We can print 3D models with a size of 0.5 x 0.5 x 1 meter. However, we can combine multiple 3D prints to form a larger mold. Generally, we would say that our molds are an option to investigate for products larger than 10 cm and smaller than 3m.

A 3D printed mold is efficient when the number of demolding is moderate to low and tolerance requirements are not to stringent. It is the perfect tool for a first production run or a small customised batch.

3D printed mold for silicone

Do you have the mold 3D design complete?

It is important to have a good model drawing of the part you want to make. If you only have a pencil sketch, 2D drawing or just the physical part with no engineering data, our engineers can help to get to a part 3D model. We use a variety of techniques for this. We use our standard rates for these activities, which are presented here.

Each 3D design is different, but to provide some indication how long it takes us to perform the following tasks (please note numbers are indications only, depending on part geometry, rather large changes may occur):

Estimated Design

hours

Estimated Engineering

hours

2D drawing to 3D drawing 8 2
Pencil sketch to 3D drawing 12 4
Scan file to 3D drawing (if proper scan) 6 2
Design review on a part, including FEA 4 16

Is the mold engineered for the 3D printing process?

As you know, a mold is not simply a negative of the final product you would like to achieve. It has to account for processing (filling, release angles, vents, etc.) and account for shrinkage of the material.

If you are confident the 3D design is okay, then we will start the 3D printing process as received. If you require our engineers to validate or help with these items, then please let us know. Again some indicative timing for standard tasks are given below:

Estimated Design

hours

Estimated Engineering

hours

Check design for printability, file type conversions. 10 min
Draft angles, shrinkage compensation 2 1
Mold filling and vents placement 8 2
Mold splits & locating pins 4 2

Our standard mold is printed hollow with an internal support structure. The standard wall thickness is 4mm, which is suitable for a large range of processes. Conversion from a solid to this printable setup is included in the printing price itself.