Video: Prototypes at CY Plastics

3.22.2016 | CY Plastics presents a quick overview of prototype options for injection molded parts: prototype tooling, machining, 3D printing or a combination approach.

Most engineers want a working part for testing while the mold is being tooled. You have several options for this.

Prototype mold. One option is to create a prototype injection mold from aluminum or pre-hardened steel. This prototype mold is generally usable for up to a few thousand parts.

Machining. If a prototype mold does not fit your budget or timeline, we can machine a few prototype parts from a solid piece of engineering resin. This is a common option for high-tolerance precision parts. It can give you an excellent test of the tolerances, material and fit of the final molded part.

3D printing. 3D printing has been gaining popularity as a quick way to get a real world “feel” for your parts at a low cost. Using a 3D printer, we can produce a small prototype part in less than an hour, whereas the same small part may take five hours of machining labor to create the rough shape and finish the details. Depending on the printer, the printed part may show lines or “layering” of the filament and may not give you a realistic picture of the surface finish and tolerance of the production part.

Hybrid approach. Another option is to use 3D printing to create the “net near shape” of the part, and then use traditional machining to finish the critical dimensions to print specifications. This hybrid of old and new technology has shown to be a great asset for many types of parts.

As always, we will work with you to understand your needs for both the prototype and the final production parts, and recommend the prototyping technique that works best for you.

Learn more about our engineering and DFM services at CY Plastics.