Need 600 ice cream spoons for a birthday party tomorrow…straight from your CAD file? In this recently released video from Stratasys, we are able to see just how powerful 3D printing can be in a traditional manufacturing environment. For garage and hackerspace Makers who may only need a few hundred parts for their Kickstarter project or other endeavor, 3D printed molds just may be the best way to go.
3D Printing and Injection Molding
While an aluminum or steel mold will no doubt remain the best option for injection molding, a 3D printed mold offers a wealth of possibility when considering the dramatic decrease in cost and time. Traditionally it can take weeks (or more) to get from CAD file to delivery with a metal mold, however the turnaround time for a 3D printed mold drops down to a matter of hours. In the video above, the Objet Digital ABS molds for ice cream spoons are injected with polypropylene at 220 degrees C. With a cycle of 100 shots, the 6 cavity molds effectively produce 600 spoons with no visible deformation in this demonstration. The most important thing we can take away from this? Ice cream spoons never looked so dang appealing.