• PT Youtube
  • CW Facebook
  • CW Linkedin
  • CW Twitter

Injection Molding & 3D Printing Combine to Make ‘Impossible’ Parts

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Stereolithography cavity inserts can be injected with thermoplastic, then removed from the mold and dissolved away to leave a complex-shaped part.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Could this be the ultimate crossover between injection molding and 3D printing? At next month’s Rapid + TCT show and conference in Detroit, AddiFab of Denmark (addifab.com), Mitsubishi Chemical America, and Alba Enterprises will collaborate to provide an answer. AddiFab (U.S. office in Palo Alto, Calif.) supplies 3D printing machines and materials that use a stereolithography technique to light-cure liquid resins. Its Freeform Injection Molding (FIM) process (freeforminjectionmolding.com) involves building a cavity insert in the form of a short cylinder with a hollow cavity inside and a sprue hole at one end. This insert is subsequently rinsed to remove all uncured resin from the cavity inside, and then is post-cured to develop full properties, including high heat resistance (high enough to permit molding PEEK). At the Mitsubishi booth (2105) at the show, the insert will be placed in a mold base in a Babyplast tabletop injection machine (sold in the U.S. by Alba) and injected with Mitsubishi’s high-performance TPE. Then the insert will be removed from the mold and dissolved in an alkaline water solution, leaving a thermoplastic part whose complex shape would be “impossible” to injection mold by conventional methods.


  • 3D-printed composite wind blades and aircraft, closer than you think

    Orbital Composites’ patented coaxial extrusion process is investigated at Airbus subsidiary CTC GmbH Stade and spins off advances in speed, scale, materials and multifunctionality as it aims for very large structures.

  • Fabrication methods

    There are numerous methods for fabricating composite components. Selection of a method for a particular part, therefore, will depend on the materials, the part design and end-use or application. Here's a guide to selection.

  • Three new 3D printing technologies for composites

    Fiber-reinforced composite tooling, ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) and woven fiber composites are all now the realm of 3D printing.

Related Topics