Our specialty for over 40 years has been Aluminum Tooling. And for 40 years we have been told that Aluminum Tools are only good as "Prototype Tools". That is correct if your idea of a prototype is 1 million+ shots, if it is... then yes, you are correct. However, since Aluminum Tools make excellent production parts if your requirements to prove out a design along with fit & function needs fall below 100 shots, your program might be perfect for a 3D mold cavity. You could 3D print the parts out right, but you would not learn anything from the processing side to bring to the production program. This is where the prefect marriage of prototypes meet production tools. The ability to learn from a "True Prototype" how your resin flows, best shut off placement, possible venting issues, poor molding conditions, etc only helps in your final design specifications.
You can get your 3D mold in hours and have your plastic parts in days. The beauty of a 3D mold is that not only is it printed in hours, you can have all the benefits of a production quality mold.
Much less costly than an Aluminum mold; 3D printed molds allow you to easily make design changes without costly reworking to the Aluminum core. The primary reason we chose to offer 3D printed molds to our clients is we saw way too many investing in Aluminum Molds that got shelved for the production Aluminum Tool. They would get 50 shots, tweak the design & tool, get another 50 shots... then shelve the mold. While we learned from each iteration and from that were able to build the prefect mold for their program... there was a gap. 3D molds filled that gap. Faster, cheaper & informational... Good choice.
3D printing gives us the option to give our clients up to 100 shots (depending upon geometry & resin choice) of a fit and function plastic part to prove out their design. Like mentioned before, we have had so many clients that have either went with Aluminum Tooling for a small amount of parts. Or just went with 3D printing parts & yes they got Fit & Function, but they learned nothing from the design to take to the production process.
3D Molded parts can give you the fit and function of parts that are molded as "One Off" 3D printed parts. However, the benefit to parts from a 3D printed mold is the learning process from how the resin flows to potential trouble spots. 3D printed molds give you a low cost option to learn as much as you can with none of the pain points that can occur with making substantial changes to a more permanent tool like Aluminum.
We specialize in Aluminum Tooling in 3 weeks or less - up to 1 million shots (we need to know you require 1 million shots initially). However with a 3D printed mold we can treat it like an Aluminum mold or other alloy's like P20. We can use water lines, cam slides, core pins, lifters, etc.
This is an extreme benefit to our clients. Our being able to simulate a production quality mold in a 3D mold is a cost saver. Anything your tool builder can do to streamline the production process is a time and cost saver. The faster we can get you to market, is not only beneficial to our clients but our WIN.