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Plastic Injection Molding versus 3D Printing

When you need to produce complex plastic parts and components, there are multiple manufacturing processes available. Two of these are plastic injection molding and 3D printing.

Time, budget, precision and volume are considerations when deciding which option is right for your business. Here we take a look at each process and the benefits for both.

3D printing is known as an additive manufacturing process. This means that the entire process is completed adding material layer by layer. Using this process, there is no need to create a mold for production. You need a 3D computer file and 3D printer capabilities. You may choose 3D printing if you need a quick turn-around time, need to make frequent changes to your design, have a low volume of parts required, and have very small components.

Plastic injection molding is a traditional manufacturing process used produce parts by injecting material into a mold cavity in order to create your part. This technique shapes your product by injecting molten material into the mold, after which the material cools and take its final solid shape. Injection molding is best for high volume production runs from a finalized design and for parts of any size or complexity.

It is important to note that both plastic injection molding and 3D printing are helpful techniques in their own right. 3D printing allows an engineer to create a plastic design at their desk and produce a prototype in a matter of hours. Plastic injection molding is the standard for quality and value, and is utilized as a quick and reliable process in high volume runs of complex design. Often 3D printing is seen as a bridge to injection molding, as a 3D printer can cost effectively print multiple prototype iterations until a final design is achieved. Plastic injection molding and 3D printing should be viewed as complementary rather than competing options in the manufacturing arena.

Plastic injection molding is right for your business to achieve a low cost-per-part for high volumes of production. From the start of your project, you can count on The Toolroom to exceed your expectations for all of your plastic injection molding needs. For over four decades, our experienced team and leading edge technology have provided you with tooling solutions from start to finish

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