It is believed that injection moulds made by 3D printer are gradually replacing moulds make of aluminium and steel and this trend is expanding in the whole world.
3D print technology will go beyond the traditional manufacture
and take the place of all critical links like moulds, parts, semi-finished and finished products. It will make factors like labor forces, equipment investment, worker skills and product line management etc less important or even useless.
In 2014 Rapid Prototyping Plastic Mould Fair, StratasysLtd, the famous 3D printing manufacturer and solution supplier of add materials manufacturing showed its new mould made from digital ABS material.
The lower production cost of 3D printer is one of the reasons that 3D injection moulds are popular in the market. However, StratasysLtd also disclosed that, this new type of mould can suffer from lower heat and pressure compared with traditional moulds. The finished mould is difficult to separate from the printer.
In spite of the weak durability of plastic mould, it could be used to make prototype and short-term products. In the manufacture of prototypes, moulds made with 3D printer contribute to find design problems easily and decrease unnecessary cost on defective aluminium moulds or steel moulds.
Low price promote the popularization of 3D printer. It is still unqualified to completely replace traditional manufacturing for the present, while great enough to produce some product prototype and simple toys. No one in the past could predict the influence of Gutenberg movable-type printing in 1450, steam engine in 1750 and transistor in 1950, and it is the same to 3D printer. It is undoubtedly that 3D printer will extend the limits of industrial vision. 3D printer will join the team of traditional manufacturing facilities like milling, cast, spray and injection machines. Furthermore, it may even be the only winner.