Updated: Aug 21, 2020
As we perfect the use of 3D printed tools with MicroMolder and discover the best practices we set out to explore what type of thin walled features we could achieve.
This tool was printed using the FormLabs Form2 SLA printer with their High Temp Resin V2. We use a .50 micron print setting and the print took about 12 hours to run. We typically let these tools print overnight.
Even with the higher resolution print quality output from the Form2 printer the tooling insert still has a light texture that must be accounted for in the tool design with the proper amount of draft angle added to the core and cavity halves of the mold. Failure to account for this will result in parts not ejecting from the tool and/or shorter tool life. For this tool we used a 3 degree draft angle on all walls.
The use of a M.U.D (multi use die) box is required for most printed tooling. The M.U.D box helps support the tool when in compression and maintain its form during repetitive cycles. We have found that the tool will soften and flex when the plastic is injected and this results in warping of the tool if a M.U.D. box isn't used. In addition, it also allows printed tooling inserts to be produced with less volume of resin material and thus making the printed tooling cheaper and quicker to print.
Our standard M.U.D boxes can be purchased from our e-store for both the MicroMolder and the MicroMolder+.
The final result of this test came out spectacular. Overall wall thickness was .040" with a "lip feature of .020" thick. We were also impressed with the detail of the embossed logo with a step height of .005". The type of plastic used for this test was HDPE (high density polyethylene).
We are confident that printed tooling can produce very thin walled parts and our next test will be a part with around .020-.010 wall thickness.
More tests are coming as we continue to push to find the limits of 3D printed tooling on the MicroMolder!