Custom Molder Gets More Mileage From 3D Printer
Use of 3D printer to save time and money in new ways is satisfying to custom molder.
Lilli Manolis Sherman
Getting even more out of its investment of bringing 3D printing design capabilities in-house a couple of years ago in order to produce 3D fit-form-function prototypes that can be verified before making a costly steel mold is very satisfying to Currier Plastics, a custom injection molder and blow molder, primarily of packaging, as well as amenities, household consumables, electronic connectors, and medical-measuring devices.
Since its acquisition of an Objet 30 3D printer from Stratasys, which allows it to use photopolymers that simulate ABS and PP, the company has printed approximately 425 bottles, jars, canisters, closures, and lids, and continues to find new uses for this additive manufacturing technology.
Says v.p. of new product development Gary Kieffer, “Lately, we’ve had a few occasions where we’ve utilized the 3D printer for jobs other than product development. First, our design and QA teams, collaborated to make a Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T)—a holding fixture for a new custom bottle we designed. This fixture will help to simplify part inspection and would normally have cost at least $1200 to manufacture. Then, our automation engineer was working on a modification of a cap-closing station. The vendor sent in the base plate and flipper bar models and we printed them overnight and validated the redesign, saving not only cost but also shaving about two weeks off the unit tools lead-time. As we experiment more and more, our team is finding out that our 3D printer is worth its weight in gold.”