Keeping an even temperature on the surface of an injection mold has been a constant challenge.

Manufacturers have used baffles, bubblers and heat pipes; they’ve glued blocks together and added detailed drilling set ups to their molds in order to maintain a constant temperature.

Over the last ten years, conformal cooling — designing cooling channels that naturally follow the contours of the part to be produced — has been positioned as a solution for controlling injection-molding temperatures. But it adds new layers of design and production complexity to the mold-making process.  To put it simply, it is beyond the means of most shops.

Bastech, additive manufacturing services and equipment sales, has wrestled with temperature issues, but believes it has found a way to introduce a new level of simplicity, efficiency and economy to conformal cooling. The company’s research is aided by its status as a 3D Systems Authorized Gold Partner, giving it access to the latest 3D printing technologies and intelligence.

Bastech’s breakthrough, documented in two recent benchmark tests, is based on 3D Systems’ Cimatron™ mold-making software and its ProX® 200 direct metal printing (DMP) system. Simulations for the conformal cooling mold designs are performed using Moldex3D software, a partner with 3D Systems, and the completed DMP molds are inspected using 3D Systems Geomagic® Control software.

The process represents an end-to-end manufacturing solution with easy integration between the digital and physical worlds, all powered by 3D Systems products.

“The combination of powerful software designed to leverage the full capabilities of 3D printing, with printers that deliver a fully dense metal part with smooth surfaces and limited post processing provides a rock-solid methodology for building customized cooling molds,” says Ben Staub, Bastech CEO.

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