Prototype Injection Molding

Our Prototype Injection Molding Service Can Speed Up Your Design to Reality at Fastest Time.


Prototype Injection Molding

A custom plastic part commonly goes through several design stages when it evolves from an idea to reality. Both 2D and 3D drawing referred in the manufacturing process. A 2D drawing of the part provides a baseline but 3D drawing is a CAD model rendering of the part to be manufactured. After custom plastic parts have been clearly illustrated and verified be ready for production, there may be some very specific reasons to consider making injection molded prototypes (prototype injection molding ) before launching running mass production.

Making real injection molded prototypes are commonly a good option if your parts have functional features that require very tight manufacturing tolerances or appearance features that are critical to the desired overall cosmetic of the product.

Injection Molded Prototypes vs 3D Printed Prototypes

Nowadays, another rapidly development technology 3D printing has became an outstanding solution for many prototype injection molding applications. But plastic injection molding is still the best alternative for most prototyping scenarios in many cases. You can contact us to receive a professional consulting which is best suited for your application.

As an alternative solution, 3D printing is sometimes very helpful to correct design flaws and help visualize a finished product at a fast time and economic method. But clear benefit of using prototype injection molding is collecting manufacturing experience and knowledge that can be applied when starting to prepare for mass production. Robust testing the chosen production material along with the injection mold design gives the manufacturer a preview of any potential problems that may arise in future of mass production.

Prototypes With 3D Printing

No tooling required

Average lead times from 5 to 20 days​

Good for very low volumes

Does not reveal real manufacturing challenges

Prototypes With Injection Molding

Low cost tooling

Average lead times from 10 to 45 days

No quantity restrictions

Does reveal actual manufacturing challenges

Prototyping Prevents Hazardous Design Flaws

Usually design problems that are not apparent in a 3D model or printed model, which can create delays and subsequently added production costs. Using a prototype injection molding solution for your custom plastic part can help you to avoid some of these common mistakes before starting production:

Surface And Cosmetic Defects

3D printed models and computer models do not 100% reflect the real-world plastic molded parts. Injection molded parts often have surface and cosmetic flaws that can only be fully discovered through real injection molding process. Most of these flaws, such as, sink marks, flow lines and gate imperfections can be addressed after prototyping.

Non-Uniform Or Unreasonable Wall Thickness

Many injection molded parts production failures are the result of product design flaws with non-uniform or wall thicknesses that are either very thick or very thin by good injection molding standards. Plastic molded parts that specifically require any of these conditions for proper function should be always prototyped by real-world injection molding to understand the production challenges that may lie ahead.

Incorrect Gate Type Or Location

Proper gate placement and gate type on a plastic molded part can have the mold cavity be filled evenly and the plastic can be held under pressure long enough to generate parts with consistent quality. Testing the quality results of a proposed gate type or location on a custom molded part can only be done through prototype injection molding.

Critical Dimensions, Warp And Material Shrink

Injection molded parts designed with dimensionally tight tolerances in order to perform properly are very good candidates for prototyping. All plastic materials and molded parts shrink and even deform after they are removed from the mold during injection molding.

Many factors determine the amount that a plastic part will shrink or warp, such as, the plastic material type chosen and a wide variety of mold design and processing factors. The best way to get insight on how repeatable a plastic part will be on tight dimensions is through real injection molded prototypes.

Prototype Injection Molds vs Production Injection Molds

Plastic injection molding includes two categories: the quantities of parts to be produced, to be used in prototyping, and the production of final serial parts. However, both categories manufactured by the same methods. They achieve cost efficiency, functionality and mechanical resistance depending on the expected part. The only difference is in the mold itself.

The manufacturing process of prototype molding involves injecting molten thermoplastic into CNC processed molds and then cooling them. The key point to making the process “fast” is to use aluminum material rather than traditional steel. This material also ensures the cost-efficiency of the parts coming out of the mold and is still suitable for end-use. All types of plastic engineering materials can be used; that’s why in this manufacturing process, even if the mold is made from a single material, there is a board range of material choices for the parts to be produced. The basic goal of prototyping mold is to accelerate the manufacturing process and reduce large-scale manufacturing costs.

Mass production mold commonly refers to molds made from steel material when large quantities production of parts are needed, which allows the molds to have a longer life than prototype molds. The objective of this production method is to make molds with durable materials to decrease the unit for high quantities.

Molds made for mass production allows the manufacturing of more complex parts and are manufactured using robust and high-quality steel. As the mold must last for a very long time production, the filing rate is higher. That is why mass production mold costs are higher than the prototype molding manufacturing. However, the price per piece is much lower for higher quantities production running. Accordingly the manufacturing process of molds is longer than prototype molding.

When to Use Prototype Molding Process?

While completing design and come to test materials and evaluate the costs

When it’s required to test the functionality of the parts before going into mass production

When it is necessary to test R&D productivity and accelerate product launch

It can be preferred when there are production demand quantity more than 10,000 units

When to Use Mass Manufacturing Molding?

When the design and configuration are complete, and the goal is to have mass manufacturing at the most affordable cost per piece.

When there are production demand quantities more than 10,000 units

When the consistency of parts to be manufactured in high volumes is essential.

It can be preferred when it come to produce quality control documents and mold quality reports.

Aluminum Molds For Prototype Or Production!

There is a general misunderstanding that any plastic injection mold made from material as aluminum should be considered a prototype mold with a limited tool life. Clients often ask, “Can you make an aluminum prototype mold for me?” The answer of course is “sure we can make an aluminum prototype mold for you, or we can make you an aluminum production mold.”The key point is that the type of materials used for making the mold does not determine if it should be considered a prototype mold or a production mold. The difference between a prototype aluminum mold and a production aluminum mold is the molding design! If the mold is designed with a single cavity for a very specific purpose of making a limited quantity of prototypes it will be designed for that purpose. Likewise, it can also be designed with one or multiple cavities and all the features required for mass production purpose.

Prototype Injection Mold Designs

The design features of a prototype injection mold should try to meet the basic design intent of a future production mold within a budget. Using the intended gate location and type, ejection locations and other important tooling features can help designers and engineers discover any manufacturing challenges. Be cautious of prototype injection molds that are constructed using 3D printer technologies. 3D printed prototype molds are not representative of true production injection molding conditions.

Incorporate the intended gate type and location on the part.

Be made from mold materials that can test the intended mold temperatures during processing.

Have the ability to keep up with the production-intended cycle times.

Get Production Quality Prototype Injection Molds As Quickly As 10 Days!

WELLER’s team of experienced tooling engineers and injection molding technicians can help you for your specific custom plastic part prototyping needs. We can:

Eliminate design error before building production plastic injection molds

Deliver production quality units from production grade materials

Provide superior quality over 3D printed parts

Reduce hidden final costs to your injection molding project

Satisfy low volume introductory production needs

Affordable Prototype Injection Molds Built In-House

Through our plastic prototyping services we can offer our clients the same options that exist for long-term mass production projects:

A large plastic materials selection

A variety of standard or custom colors

Insert molding or substrate overmolding

Assembly of client’a injection molded parts

Pad printing and other part decorating

Recently years, 3D printing technology has been as a common solution for many prototype injection molding applications. However, real world plastic injection molding are still the best alternative for most prototyping scenarios in many cases. The product designer should be aware of each prototyping method’s strong points to understand which is best suited for it’s application.

Benefits Of Prototyping Plastic Parts

Rapid prototype injection molding is commonly a preferred method that not only helps designers and engineers confirm product quality, but also generates real-world products that can exactly be market-tested before designs are considered finalized. In addition to perform do design verification and structural validation, rapid prototype injection molding can used to help optimize and finalize tooling designs for your long term production runs.Rapid injection molding greatly benefits designers of products with strict cosmetic requirements and functionality early in product launch phases. To save your time in an integrated electronic devices development,contact WELLER for a quote rapid prototype injection molding along with your electronic circuit board manufacturing, assembly,and testing. Other benefits of producing prototype plastic parts before a full scale of manufacturing begins include:

Faster & more reliable product launch: One product fail to succeed for many complicated reasons, including costs and price miscalculations, lack of market testing, and worst of all—product failures. Rapid prototyping and market testing can minimize these risk before a formal product launch.

More Efficient Design Process: A prototype can actually help shorten the overall engineering and design review phases of a new product. And, when you have a prototype plastic part in hand, you can easily convince its market viability to stakeholders.

Better Product Functionality & Cosmetic: When one designed product are judged aesthetically based on engineering drawings and visualizations, they usually fail to impress in exact production scenarios. You can also perform field-test a prototype sample for functionality and aesthetics

Reduced Tooling Costs: when the manufacturer’s mass production mold not verified by prototype process, usually they have to rework it. If you adapt rapid prototype injection molding, you’ll find and address any challenges before you make expensive production molds.

Contact WELLER Now with Your Prototype Injection Molding Needs