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Home Plastic Injection Molding

by CyenceFiction / February 2, 2016 12:13 PM PST

This goes a bit beyond the standard forum topics but I was curious if anyone knew of an affordable way to set up a home plastic injection molding operation. I know about 3D printers but I figured an actual aluminum or steel injection mold might offer a better variety of materials with which to work. Is this something that's just way too ambitious for a home garage?

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Clarification Request
Is this for a hobby or business?
by Steven Haninger / February 2, 2016 12:29 PM PST

Off hand, I'd say a home garage is a bit small. I'd wonder who makes the molds and stores them. If this is a hobby and you're willing to pour money into it, there's no stopping you from trying. If you plan to start a business, that's another issue. I do know a fellow who started a special metals business in his garage and now owns a very large building with tons of heavy equipment. He mainly does custom stainless steel and aluminium work and uses laser cutting machines that require a lot more electric power than you'll see in any garage. He also employs several people including some skilled welders but it did all start in a garage.

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by CyenceFiction / February 2, 2016 3:43 PM PST

That's encouraging! Yeah, I was actually thinking of doing it as a business. Obviously at my level it wouldn't be very competitive with large manufacturers but I wanted to start somewhere and right now I've got the garage to my house and I'm looking at renting a small storage garage in the industrial side of town. A lot of carpenters seem to work from there.

All Answers

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Small world.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2016 12:29 PM PST

Years ago I helped build an injection mold plant. The primary reason for injection molding is mass production. Why would you need a million of the same thing?

3D printers offer a way for the home garage to make the one you need.

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by CyenceFiction / February 2, 2016 3:44 PM PST
In reply to: Small world.

Yeah, I was actually thinking of going into production as a small business with hopes of accruing more space/machines over time.

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Tread carefully.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 2, 2016 3:50 PM PST
In reply to: Business

Mass production is sadly outsourced today. But there's still an opening for custom work. After the proto's are done then you get a price for mass production.

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Custom Work
by CyenceFiction / February 3, 2016 10:54 AM PST
In reply to: Tread carefully.

It sounds then like 3D Printing custom work at the home level is a better choice than trying to slowly build mass production from scratch. Thanks for the advice!

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by James Denison / February 2, 2016 4:54 PM PST

Brings back memories. When I was child lived in Houston and a trip to top of Humble Oil building allowed me to view the city with those pay telescopes and my prize going home was an injection mold model of the building. Haven't seen it since I grew up, but here's what it looked like.

I was a bit disappointed, the picture on the machine as I recall showed the actual building, so something with no color to it was not expected, but for the price it was OK.

Mold-a-rama had a lot of those type machines in various tourist spots around the country back then.

They might help you in your quest, even today.

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It's cheap to do the casting
by Steven Haninger / February 3, 2016 2:32 AM PST
In reply to: Mold-A-Rama

but not so cheap to make the mold. So you want custom coat hooks? I can make those for $1 each once I make the tools. The tools will cost you 5K but you get to keep them when I'm done.

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check out this video
by James Denison / February 3, 2016 6:45 AM PST
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by CyenceFiction / February 3, 2016 10:57 AM PST
In reply to: check out this video

Wow, there's something I haven't thought about in a while! I remember the Mold-A-Rama machines but I haven't seen one in ages. Maybe they had one at the San Diego Zoo? There was a TV show on a few years ago about a girl that talked to the plastic animals that came out of the mold machines. It was called Wonderfalls.

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by markpinto / July 11, 2016 10:00 PM PDT

Plastic injection molding makes more economic sense for larger volumes. For smaller volumes I might recommend other services like CNC machining, vacuum casting or 3D printing depending on the needs of your project.

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