How to solve your injection moulded problems with 3D printing

During the current Corona crisis we have seen a jump in companies requiring their injection moulded plastic parts as soon as possible- without the delays and added costs. This is where we can help solve this issue, with a 3D …

Tom Watkins

March 20, 2020

During the current Corona crisis we have seen a jump in companies requiring their injection moulded plastic parts as soon as possible- without the delays and added costs. This is where we can help solve this issue, with a 3D printed solution. The usual lead times for getting parts from these locations may be just about bearable with respect to the cost. However, what happens when you cannot get any parts at all? The solution may be simply 3D printed parts to replace your injection mould plastic enclosure, prototypes, and production parts.

However, will self-isolation stop you from using a desktop 3D printer? Absolutely not! For instance it can be moved from the office to at home. Check out the blog section of our site for more on this! 

Mantracourt contacted us with the requirement of a prototype part, we thought it would work well as a case study to prove our point! The manufacturing method usually used for this part would be injection moulded. Therefore we decided to use the SLA (stereolithography) process of the Formlabs Form3+ 3D printer to create the parts.

To print the part we need to convert the CAD into readable data on the printer. This is achieved by using Preform. Preform is the free slicing software used by Formlabs printers to convert the data in the STL into readable “slices”. If you would like to try it for yourself, you can download it from here.

How to easily 3D print the plastic enclosure

Printing at 50-micron layer height, using 228ml of Grey Pro resin, 1 day and 7 hours later… the printer creates something that looks like this!

3D printed injection mould parts
3D printed injection mould parts

In order to achieve the injection moulded finish, we need to remove the support material.

The tools that I used were:

  • Scalpel
  • Flush face cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Sandpaper 120 grit and 400 grit
  • (PPE)

finishing the 3D printed injection mould

From this it’s a case of using the flush face cutters and the scalpel to cut the contact points between the supports and the parts. By using needle nose pliers it easy to pull off large pieces of supports in one go.

With the supports removed, give them a hand wash with some water and then start with the 400 grit on any rougher areas. Using light pressure in circular motions helps get these areas ready to use the 120 grit sandpaper on it. Another wash with water to remove any excess and we have our finished part.

The result of 3D printed injection moulded plastic enclosure

As a result of finishing the part, it now has a smooth, high quality surface finish. Primer and paint could now be used, however we shall leave the part as is. The part now looks like the original 3D printed injection moulded plastic enclosure, and fits the customers needs.

The finished 3D printed injection mould , snap fit together

The extremely thin area shown in the images below, which would be back lit by an LED. Alternatively, the photogenic and not at all fake backdrop to our office in Leamington Spa can be used. Come check out the view and our printers if you don’t believe us!

Therefore, if you are interested in finding out what this 3D printed injection moulded plastic enclosure is used for – Mantracourt.

During these tough times we would love to help your business find ways to save money. To speak to a 3D Printing expert, call us on 01926 333 777 or check out our contact us section.

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