3D-printed tools enable cost-effective production of injection-moulded parts

igus has announced a service to 3D print injection mould tools, enabling rapid and cost effective production of custom parts. This service is said to complement a range of products and services igus offers across the design, prototyping, testing and manufacturing cycle, from 3D printing parts and machining stock bar, to supplying tribo filaments and SLS powders to 3D print with or tribo polymers for traditional injection moulding.

“Injection moulding tools, or moulds, usually manufactured from steel or aluminium for high volume production, can have relatively high costs, with longer lead times,” said Robert Dumayne, director, igus. “With 3D-printed plastic moulds, igus is providing more options for design engineers and manufacturers seeking a cost-saving alternative for prototyping or low volume production.”

For parts with simple geometries, the 3D printed injection moulds can be produced with short, lead times, using the SLS (selective laser sintering) printing process. The moulds are for use in existing injection moulding machines and are capable of withstanding high temperatures for up to several hundred uses. Injection moulded parts can then be produced using a range of proven and tribologically-optimised iglidur materials.