3D printing or injection molding: Which is better?
Injection molding and 3D printing are excellent production methods, but their differences make them ideal for various tasks. It all varies depending on what you’re looking. 3D printing is becoming a viable alternative to injection molding, which has long seemed more professional, but things are changing.
Both the quick prototyping process and manufacturing can benefit from these two strategies. First, you’ll need to grasp their distinctions so that you can figure out which one is best for your production process.
An additive manufacturing process called 3D printing, or digital fabrication, is used to create three-dimensional solid items from a computer file.
Additive methods are used to create a 3D-printed object. Additive manufacturing involves building up successive layers of material until the final product is achieved. The structure of the thing can be visualized as a series of cross-sections, one for each of these levels.
Contrary to subtractive manufacturing, which involves using a tool like a milling machine to remove material from a solid block of material, 3D printing involves adding material layer by layer.
With 3D printing, you can manufacture more complicated shapes with less material than traditional manufacturing processes.
How Does 3D Printing Work?
A 3D model is the first step in the process. Create one from scratch, or use one from a 3D repository.
There are a wide variety of software options from open source to high-volume manufacturing. Some software includes Tinkercad, Blender, BRL-CAD, Design Spark Mechanical, Free CAD, OpenSCAD, Wings3D, 3D Slash, Sketchup, Fusion 360, Mol 3D, Rhino 3D, and many others options.
Tinkercad is a popular entry point for those new to 3D modeling. Tinkercad is a browser-based CAD program that doesn’t require you to download it to your computer. Beginner tutorials are available, as well as a built-in tool that allows you to export your model as a printable file, such as an.OBJ or.STL.
The next step is to prepare it for 3D printing using a printable file. Slicing is the term for this.
It is possible to slice a 3D model into tens of thousands of thin slices using a slicing program. Among the many software options are Ultimaker Cura and Simplify3D and Repetier, and KISSlicer.
Sliced files are ready to be printed on a 3D printer. The file can be sent to your printer through USB, SD Card, or wirelessly. Layer by layer, your 3D printable sliced file is now ready for printing in 3D.
Parts can be mass-produced in vast numbers using the injection molding method. The operation is carried out by pumping molten materials into a mold. Hundreds of identical objects are often produced using this mass production process. A wide range of materials can be molded by injection molding, including metals, silica, synthetic rubber, and confectioneries.
How does Injection Moulding Work?
Injection molding begins with the creation of the mold. Precision machining is used to precisely match the mold’s features to the characteristics of the product it will generate.
After the mold maker has crafted the mold, the component’s raw materials are loaded into a preheated chamber, where they are combined with the assistance of a screw with a spiral form. In a chamber, metal or plastic material is heated and poured into the mold cavity, which is cooled and hardened to match the contour of the mold as it is created. Utilizing coolant lines that receive water or oil and are controlled by an external temperature controller is one way to reduce the time needed for the cooling process. Ejector pins can be used to remove the object from the mold once the material has cooled and hardened.
A two-shot mold is a type of injection molding in which several materials can be blended into a single piece. It is possible to utilize this method to give plastic products a softer feel, color a portion, or create objects with various performance qualities.
The number of cavities in a mold might range from one to many. Molds with many holes can be used to make similar parts, or they can be used to create pieces with varied geometries that are unique to each cavity. For large-volume manufacturing or items with tight dimensional tolerances, aluminum molds are not the best choice because of their poor mechanical qualities and the high injection and anchoring forces they are subjected to. Steel molds are more robust than aluminum ones but are also more expensive.
There are several aspects to consider while designing an injection-molding item, including its shape and characteristics, as well as its materials, such as the mold and the molding machine. For this reason, a variety of factors must be taken into account during the injection molding process.
PROS & CONS OF 3D PRINTING AND PLASTIC INJECTION MOLDING
Plastic injection molding and 3D printing are both useful technologies in their way. Engineers can now make plastic models on their desks and have them come to life in only a few hours, thanks to 3D printing. On the other hand, injection molding is the method of choice regarding quality and cost. Fast and reliable high-volume runs of intricate plastic patterns are frequently produced using this method.
- 3D Printing is Inexpensive: Injection molding equipment is more expensive than a desktop 3D printer and its materials. Ongoing assistance can be provided at little or no cost, thanks to open-source software and hardware growth.
- Easy Design Modifications: The addictive nature of 3D printing enables us to make design modifications even during manufacturing, resulting in cost savings on a batch of products that may have an error in their design. You don’t have to start the entire manufacturing run from the beginning if you can pause mid-process and make design modifications. For rapid prototyping, 3D printing is a great option as a minimal setup is necessary.
- Detail Oriented Designs: For sophisticated and comprehensive designs with detailed infrastructures, 3D printing is the ideal solution.
- Slow Production Proces: Some printers can make more than one or two objects at a time, but most rely on CAD-based processes that take a lot of time to set up.
- Larger Products can’t be 3D Printed.: The method is constrained by the printing surface’s size. Substantial 3D printing is conceivable, but it is not the optimal use of this technology because the design becomes progressively fragile if pieces dangle over the printing area’s edge.
- Rough Finishing Touch: There is a roughness to 3D printed items, no matter how minute the detail is, because of how the layers are formed additively. As a result, if you desire a smooth surface, you will have to perform post-build smoothing.
- Feasible for Bulk Production: Injection molding may utilize multiple molds simultaneously, making it more cost-effective for mass production.
- Strengthened Objects: A homogeneous layer of molten material is used to manufacture injection molded items, avoiding any cracks or other weak points. This approach works for dense materials, such as concrete, that would otherwise necessitate 3D printing modifications.
- Waste Minimization: When using injection molding, you only use the quantity of material that is necessary for the design. This implies that this manufacturing approach is perfect for Bulk production at a low cost.
- Design Limitations: This production technique is constrained by the use of a mold, which has design restrictions. It is important to eradicate an object from a mold without breaking it if the design includes right angles. When developing intricate and detailed patterns that can stand independently, injection molding is a poor choice.
- Errors & Design Changes are Difficult: The process requires a considerable setup time, which makes it difficult and expensive to fix a design flaw in injection molding. The mold would have to be fully recreated, and any things produced would have to be thrown away to change designs or rectify issues.
- Costly Ingress: The cost of an injection molding machine might easily reach six figures. These technologies aren’t particularly suitable for hobbyists because of the additional costs of molds, materials, and design prototyping designed for the industry.
So, in summary,
3D Printing is Best-Suited for
- Fast turn around time of 1 to 2 weeks
- Production runs of less than 100 pieces
- Designs that are constantly evolving
- Plastic components or pieces that are rather small in size
Injection Molding is Best-Suited for
- Longer turnaround times of 5-7 weeks for simple parts
- More than 1,000 components per run are characterized by high production
- Design of the final component
- Components of any shape or size
YONGUBOX can assist with designing an electronic enclosure and constructing a new enclosure from scratch. The process begins with an application analysis, followed by CAD tools to develop an optimum design for the enclosure.
Designing The Unique Prototype
One of YONGU’s services is Designing a unique prototype. We provide OEM and ODM products. If you want your products to be different from others, we may help you design your prototype’s new structure and appearance.
- Communicate your requirements for the box online
- Design a unique appearance and structure for your prototype
- Modify the design for free until you are satisfied.
- Provide sample service before placing orders in batches, and help you test the aluminum case to ensure that it meets your needs.
YONGUBOX also manufactures customized metal racks, sheet metal enclosures, and custom-molded plastic enclosures. Almost any plastic or aluminum enclosure may be formed and welded at our facility, thanks to our state-of-the-art equipment and highly trained employees. Plastic and aluminum are the most preferred materials for customized industrial enclosures.
Engineering The Best Solutions
One of the services YONGU offers is engineering the most effective solutions. We can materialize your concepts and ideas into a functioning prototype or a batch of items.
- If you provide us with your 3D model, CAD file, and hand-drawn sketch, we will be able to make it in solid work, manage it, and confirm it with you.
- We make our existing items’ 3D, and CAD design files available so you can modify them.
- All you need to do is provide us with a concept, and we will handle everything else.
- We provide a comprehensive collection of workable solutions for PCB boards, which are the internal structural portions of electronic devices.
The aim of YONGUBOX is to parameterize the system design and operation parameters to employ Multi-Disciplinary Optimization methods to optimize the system according to the requirements you have specified for a bespoke product.
Processing The High-Quality Products
One of the services that YONGU provides is the processing of high-quality boxes. Instead of focusing on developing frictionless technology, distinctively allow precise supply chains. You will be provided with an aluminum enclosure of high precision and quality.
- Answers to your questions on the manufacturing process
- Fabrication of aluminum boxes and goods using CNC equipment
- Designing, constructing, and testing with the greatest possible quality
- Providing the finest outcomes at a fair price
For further information and customized product of your requirements, follow our Facebook for more details: YONGUBOX.
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