Development of 3D printed rapid tooling for micro-injection moulding

Walsh, Erin and ter Horst, Joop H. and Markl, Daniel (2021) Development of 3D printed rapid tooling for micro-injection moulding. Chemical Engineering Science, 235. 116498. ISSN 0009-2509 (

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The use of additive manufacturing techniques in conjunction with injection moulding is becoming increasingly popular, with financial and time benefits to coupling the techniques. This study demonstrates a systematic development process of 3D printed rapid tooled moulds using stereolithography. A high flexural modulus and elongation were found to increase the likelihood of success of a mould material in the injection moulding process. Success is defined as the mould surviving the process and being capable of producing the desired object successfully. Stereolithography was found to produce high quality moulds when a diagonal print orientation and a scaling factor of 109.3% is employed. The presented technique and systematic workflow is highly suitable for the production of moulds with detailed micro-features. This is of particular interest for rapid tooling for micro-injection moulding for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, where the microstructure directly impacts the performance of the products.