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When Are Casting and Molds Better than Injection Molding or 3D Printing?

June 7, 2018
urethane rubber part removed from mold

It’s important to remember that 3D printing is a means to an end, so we always have to ask ourselves, based on what a client wants to achieve, what’s the best path to take to get there.  Sometimes, the answer isn’t 3D printing.  One alternative is casting and mold making which is worth considering when you want:

  • Low to medium part quantities – from 10s to 1000s
  • Production-quality finishes with the look and feel of injection-molded parts
  • To spend less –
    • Typically lower unit costs than direct part printing
    • Fraction of the tooling cost required for injection molding
  • To cut lead time from months to weeks for tooling compared to injection molding
  • To select:
    • Food-grade and medical-grade materials
    • Elastomers to rigid plastics ranging from 20A – 90D durometer
    • Other materials such as silicone, plaster, concrete and other composites
  • To create electronics housings, gaskets, cosmetic parts, displays and low volume production

To see if this approach is suitable for your project, check out these Design Guidelines.

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