4/9/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

See It Live: The Ultimate Crossover of Injection Molding & 3D Printing

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AddiFab, Mitsubishi Chemical and Alba Enterprises to demonstrate Freeform Injection Molding at Rapid + TCT show in May.

It’s a new hybrid method combining the best features of injection molding and additive manufacturing. At next month’s Rapid + TCT show and conference in Detroit, AddiFab of Denmark, 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 involves these steps:

  1. Build a cavity insert in the form of a short cylinder with a hollow cavity inside and a sprue hole at one end.
  2. Rinse the insert to remove all uncured resin from the cavity inside.
  3. Post-cure the insert to develop full properties, including high heat resistance (high enough to support molding PEEK). The method is proprietary.
  4. Place the insert in a mold base in an injection molding machine and fill it with resin. At the Mitsubishi booth (2105) at the show, the insert will be placed in a Babyplast tabletop injection machine (sold in the U.S. by Alba) and injected with Mitsubishi’s high-performance TPE resin.
  5. Remove the insert from the mold and dissolve it away in an alkaline water solution.
  6. Marvel at a thermoplastic part whose complex shape would be “impossible” to injection mold by conventional methods.

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