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What is the difference between an injection mold and a prototype?

Update:12-05-2022
Summary:

Prototypes are generally processed in plastic or metal […]

Prototypes are generally processed in plastic or metal on a precision engraving machine or in the form of 3D printing or duplicating, making several samples or producing in small batches. And mold opening refers to first processing the mold, and then using the mold to injection mold mass-produced products. Generally, confirm with the customer first with the hand board, and then open the mold for mass production.
The prototype is the sample of the product. When your design drawings come out, the finished product is generally not perfect or even unusable. Once the direct production is defective, it will be completely scrapped, which greatly wastes manpower, material resources and time; and the prototype production cycle is short. , waste less manpower and material resources, quickly find out the deficiencies of product design and then improve, and provide sufficient basis for product finalization and mass production.
3D printing: The prototype is made by laser printing and additive processing. The production cycle is very fast. Generally, it only takes half a day to complete the printing and grinding process. Now metal materials such as stainless steel and aluminum alloy can be printed, and the surface of the printed prototype can be printed. It's rough, but metal printing is expensive.
CNC machining: CNC machining is the use of CNC equipment such as engraving machines to process. It is the mainstream processing method in the prototype industry at present. There are no special restrictions on the processing materials. Basically, plastic, aluminum alloy sheet, foam, foam, etc. can be realized.
Silicone mold: This process is to first make an original, the original can be made by CNC machining or 3D printing, and then repair the original, you can make a silicone mold, the silicone mold can choose ABS, PP, PC, POM , TPU and other materials.
CNC hand plate processing and mold processing are not very different in terms of processing methods, both of which use some CNC processing equipment such as machining centers, fine carvings, and CNC cars. There is a big difference in terms of the material being processed. Prototype processing is mainly to process polymer materials, such as PC, ABS and nylon and other plastics. The block materials are engraved and milled and then polished and painted. The final product is generally the model developed by the customer. The product is identical in appearance. The purpose is self-evident. It is to visually confirm the product's shape, color, coordination and other related data before the mold is opened, so as to reduce the risk of mold opening.
The mold is the thin wall mold of each plastic and metal part after the confirmation of the prototype. It is a tool that can produce parts with certain shape and dimensional accuracy requirements. Generally, it is a steel mold. The requirements for machine tools and tools are much higher than those for processing prototypes, and the processing cost is also much higher. Common products in our lives, such as TV sets, telephone casings, plastic barrels and other products, are heated and injected into the mold to cool and form. produced.
Although there are so many differences between the hand board and the mold, they are still related. Generally, the hand board model is used to confirm the shape of the customer, and then the mold is opened for mass production. The cost of mold manufacturing is very high, especially large molds such as medical and automotive are worth hundreds of thousands or even millions. If there is an unreasonable structure or other problems in the process of making the mold, the risk is great. The prototype model can solve this problem well and reduce the danger caused by mold opening.

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