P-20 | S-7 | H-13 | 420 Stainless Steel Tooling

Often we have customers who prefer their rapid prototypes be created out of a Steel Alloy mold. We can create these between 1 – 5 weeks. The reasons we can do this are as varied as the prototypes themselves, but the main reason is the prototype’s design specifications. However, many times their project can be supported by Aluminum Tooling and Bridge Tooling – Aluminum production quantities.

One major OEM we work with always requests P–20 steel because the resin they use is Fortron. This particular resin requires a very high mold temperature to flow correctly. Most optical component resins often require a high mold temperature as well, but the resin’s used to create them are not as rough on a mold.

Because Fortron and other glass filled resins are very abrasive plastics, the erosive characteristics will cause substantial wear in Aluminum molds. Of course this can be somewhat minimized by using surface hardening. This particular customer typically prefers P-20 for their prototypes and consequently does not need to worry about mold degradation if their part requirements go up.

Consider Bridge Tooling

How long does the mold or process need to exist? Some of our medical device manufacturers seldom require ‘high’ production quantities. Reduce project costs by using Bridge Tooling. This applies to any project in any market. The current method of thinking is that anything called ‘production’ requires Steel Alloy tooling. Production quantities and quality can be achieved using lower cost Aluminum molds. One major OEM just did a recent study proving the longevity and production potential of Aluminum Tooling.

We can produce production quality plastic prototypes with PHOENIX PROTO’S IPP process. Wow, say that sentence 5 times fast. One particular customer had such a difficult living hinge design partnered with a stiff nylon resin, that it required all of the years of experience to be had from our engineering staff and our certified Master Molder to help them learn how to transition the prototype into a P-20 mold.

Good Tooling Practices

Stereotypes die hard. Another living hinge designer just never had good luck with Aluminum Tools. He experienced problems with wear and less than desirable workmanship. Because of this the customer wasn’t very interested in anything other than steel alloys. Aluminum Tools built poorly do deserve that reputation. However with good tooling practices it is easy to achieve a quality Aluminum mold. We have over 30 years of experience in designing and building Aluminum tools as well as more traditional Alloys.

Production Quality Prototypes

We build our Aluminum molds to production quality in our rapid prototyping process. This is how we achieve consistent results with tight tolerances and the highly aesthetic requirements plastic parts like optical components and chrome finishes need. We can do the same for our customers that require Steel Alloys.

For customers that prefer Steel, and depending upon the complexity detail required parts can be had in 1 – 5 weeks.

We offer the following Steel Alloys:

  • P-20 – Pre-Tempered Steel (Pre-Hardened)
  • S-7
  • H-13
  • 420 Stainless Steel