Frequently Asked Questions

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Tools & Moulds

What are my Tooling options?

Long gone are the days when the only tooling option was to use steel! These days, a wide variety of materials are used, from SLA resins such as Perform, to silicone, epoxies, aluminium and steel. 

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Bridge Tooling – what is it and when should I use it?

Bridge Tooling can also be known as development tooling or rapid tooling, and defines a stage in development where there is a need for moulded parts but production tooling is unavailable. Its name coming from the fact that it forms a bridge between prototyping and production.

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How is Low Volume Production (LVP) tooling different from development or production tooling?

Mould tool options which give flexibility for time versus cost......

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I'm looking at Injection Moulding - what drives the cost?

Injection moulding is a great way to form thermoplastics into a range of shapes. These can be anything from a simple washer to a complicated electrical housing to a wheelie bin or car bumper. Add to this flexibility, potential materials stretching from soft elastomerics to metal replacement polymers and the scope begins to become apparent.

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Should Aluminium be considered as a tooling material?

We believe aluminium tooling offers significant benefits in the right applications:

  1. Being a softer metal, it is faster to machine. This can have price benefits and result in faster delivery times.
  2. Aluminium has a better thermal conductivity than steel, with the potential therefore to offer reduced cycle times.
  3. For high gloss finishes, it can be polished about 30% faster.
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Thinking about reshoring your tool from the Far East?

Brexit has shaken up businesses across the country and many companies are using this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the way they are conducting their manufacturing. 

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What if Vacuum Casting was called 3D Printing?

In all the publicity associated with 3D printing, we hear so little about vacuum casting.

Is this because it’s not as ‘sexy’, or perhaps its because you can’t do it sat in front of a computer, or maybe its just been there for so many decades that no one is interested?

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Injection Moulding or Vacuum Casting. Which one should I use?

Injection moulding is often dismissed as being too expensive, requiring long lead times and being inflexible, but that's not always the case. We take a look at some of the advantages the technology offers with a real case that proves that is not always the case.

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Development, Prototype and Bridge Tooling - what do I need to know?

Such terms are usually used to refer to injection mould tooling, but are equally relevant to other processes such as metal forming or blow moulding - typically any process where high production tooling costs exist and there is a need for truly representative prototypes.

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My prototype must be in the production intent material (ABS, PC, PA, PP etc). What are my options?

The short answer is you have to make a mould tool. However this needs qualifying, as today processes such as SLS use nylon (PA) as their standard material. FDM works with ABS, ABS/PC, PC, Ultem and PPS. These techniques, whilst getting much closer to the production material, do not allow for a particular grade to be chosen and are still subject to some optimisation for the process.

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Development tooling, Prototype and Bridge tooling - how long does it take and what are the costs?

This is the 'how long is a piece of string?' question!

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How many parts can I expect from an aluminium tool?

The two big factors here are the grade of aluminium used for the tooling and the material being moulded.

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How do I achieve successful injection moulded parts?

Part Design is the key to success and our top tip is “KEEP IT SIMPLE”. 

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How to increase the strength of a part through Structural Foam Injection Moulding?

In order to increase the strength of a part, volume is often added to specific sections to improve performance.

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Is using a Chinese supplier a viable solution for my project?

There has been much written about what companies from the Far East can offer; some of it bad, some of it good and some of it down right mis-leading. 

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What additional costs are involved in sourcing from China?

Buying from China can be a very good move, but in weighing up the options it is worth considering several points.

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How easy is it to work with suppliers in the Far East?

People often say to us that they will get their parts made in the Far East – after all everyone says it's so much cheaper – and how difficult can it be?

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