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DIY Injection Molding

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Message 1 of 7
travis.true08
1347 Views, 6 Replies

DIY Injection Molding

I'm not sure if this is the appropriate spot to ask this, but let me know.

 

I got into Autodesk Fusion 360 a few months back, and it was a fun ride. I designed a prototype video game controller, and even 3D printed some prototypes out to get a feel for what I was going for. I also have a version of my controller that are almost good enough for injection molding according to the Moldflow analysis, which is what I really want to do eventually. I've gotten quotes from injection mold manufacturers, and it'd take $10k to make the molds, and roughly $5 per part @ 10000 pieces. That's obviously too expensive for me.

 

I understand that injection mold machines and making molds are expensive, but how expensive would it be to purchase and maintain a machine of my own? I'd like to be able to make 10 - 100 units every few months to get started, and my largest part is roughly 120x60x30mm.

 

I was looking at an injection mold machine on Robot Digg here for about $8k (not including shipping). I could purchase ABS pellets on Alibaba for a decent price as well. Are there any particular specs/features to look out for in an injection mold machine? Are there any other injection mold machines that I should look at?

 

Having molds made seem extremely expensive. I'm more than happy to learn how to design the molds myself with Fusion's CAM features, and mill them out myself if I can make a new mold for only a couple hundred dollars. I'm not too sure how practical that is though.

 

I'm also looking at the ASPX-PIM Desktop Electric Plastic Injection Machine for $12,500. It's 120V out-of-the-box and doesn't need any extra attachments such as an air compressor, unlike the one over on Robot Digg.

 

As far as milling goes, the ASPX Spyder looks nice. Looks like they have a sale until the end of the month. I seriously don't know what I should be looking for as far as a milling machine is concerned though. It sounds like I'll need a machine capable of milling aluminum blocks at first glance, but I might actually need to mill out steel blocks instead if I want a special finish on my molds.

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Message 2 of 7

Just a quick answer on the moulding machines. The most important detail is clamping force, the first machine you linked doesn't seem to tell you that at all and the second one is only 5 tons. Generally you need 3 to 5 tons per square inch so the second machine will only handle something around 2 square inches.

 

Mark

Mark Hughes
Owner, Hughes Tooling
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Message 3 of 7

Milling machine looks mickey mouse if you're trying to make a quality mould you'll need something a lot more sturdy than that.

 

Sound like you have no experience with moulding or machining, I think you'll have a very long learning curve and a lot of money to spend so the prices you,ve been quoted for tool manufacture are going to be less than you'll need to invest. An analogy would be imagine trying the learn to drive a car if you never seen a car before no lessons no watching other people drive you around for years, just some youtube videos.

 

Mark

Mark Hughes
Owner, Hughes Tooling
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Message 4 of 7

You are definitely correct: I have no experience in machining, I've watched too many YouTube videos on this subject, and I'm caught in that frustrating scenario where I'm trying to learn a subject without access to the proper materials. I've been trying to find more resources about mold making online, but no luck.

 

Just to get an idea, are there any machines that you recommend?

Message 5 of 7

Dear Travis, after much reading, milling and CAD design for plastic parts, I'm now ready to host an injection press in my toolshop to reach... independance and flexibility (at least for simple parts). I'm fed up with high tag prices proposed by suppliers for the simplest aluminium mold. I'm also fed-up by all this people considering that knowledge acquisition is too hard a learning curve, and not worth a penny. Should you have time, money and will, before asking suppliers to do it for you, try do it yourself and understand how it works. The benefit is huge, and your satisfaction doubled.

 

I am having a look on the market as you did 2 years ago, and found 3 injection units candidates :

 

. the Robotdigg (2 tons clamping force - rather low)

. the ASPX-PIM (all electric 6,8 tons clamping force - seems pretty good, but honnest?)

. and the Babyplast (6 tons clamping force @ top quality hydraulic machine, but @ 30K$ used condition).

 

On your side, have you found your ideal injection unit?

 

Message 6 of 7

APSX-PIM has a different structural approach than conventional injection molding machines. It can easily make parts with 10 sq-in footprint parts with only 5 tons clamping force. Please visit apsx-pim website for more details. 

Message 7 of 7

Travis - I hope this reply is not too late but the things related to mold making are not that too hard to learn. This has been a myth created mostly by machinists and mold makers. You can start learning anytime and it will not be that long curve like others tell you. Here is a resource for you:

https://www.apsx.com/designing-the-mold-in-cad-fusion-360

 

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