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Have you ever wanted to create the look of a different material on a plastic part? Plastic parts not only benefit from designs that are pleasing to the eye, but they also benefit from the way a part feels when handled. Depending on the application, you may want your part to be as smooth as glass or possess a rough feel to indicate strength and durability. One way to injection mold a part with a unique look and/or feel is through the use of mold texturing.

What is Texturing?

Texturing is a process used to apply patterns to a mold surface. This process allows flexibility in creating the final appearance of your parts. Texturing is an integral piece in overall product development and should be considered during the design process to achieve the desired results. Texture can be a functional component of design as well. Imperfect parts can be camouflaged by the right texture. Is the part designed for frequent handling? Texture can be used to hide finger prints and improve the grip for the end user. Texture can also be used to reduce part wear from friction.

What Textures Are Available?

Quickparts has the ability to produce a wide variety of textures such as:

•  Natural/Exotic

•  Matte Finishes

•  Multi-Gloss Patterns

•  Fusions

•  Graphics

•  Leather Grains/Hides

•  Woodgrain, Slate, & Cobblestone

•  Geometric & Linens

•  Images or Logos Incorporated into the Pattern   

How Do I Design for Texture?

When applying a texture to your part, you need to adjust your CAD drawing to accommodate for this surface variance. If you are designing for texture on a surface that is perpendicular or angled away from the mold opening then no draft changes are necessary. If your texture is on a parallel surface with the mold opening, however, increased draft is necessary to prevent scraping and drag marks that could occur during part ejection.

Rule of Thumb:

Different textures have different impacts on the molded part. The rule of thumb when designing for texture is to have 1.5 degrees of draft for each 0.001” of texture finish depth.

Designing plastic parts is a complex task involving many factors that address a list of requirements of the application. “How is the part to be used?” “How does it fit to other parts in the assembly?” “What loads will it experience in use?” In addition to functional and structural issues, processing issues play a large role in the design of an injection molded plastic part. How the molten plastic enters, fills, and cools within the cavity to form the part largely drives what form the features in that part must take.

Using our 8 years of injection molding manufacturing experience, Quickparts has created several resources to assist you in designing for this process. The Basics of Injection Molding Design is a guide outlining the basic rules to designing parts for injection molding that will make your parts stronger and easier to manufacture.

Design for Manufacturing Analysis is a free service offered with injection molding quotes where a report is generated by a Quickparts Production Engineer who reviews the feasibility of your part for manufacturing.  Click here for a sample report.

Injection Molding Glossary contains commonly used injection molding terms and their definitions.

These resources are free of charge and are all available in the Quickparts Learning Center.

Injection molding is the manufacturing process that is responsible for producing most of the plastic parts that we come in contact with each day.  The injection molding process is capable of producing a wide range of    designs; however, it is a long one that does not allow for easy changes.  It is for this reason that Quickparts has created a new injection molding concept called Proto-duction tooling.

Prototype in Cavity-1, Production in Cavity-2, 3, 4 when ready

Quickparts has perfected the process of building “Proto-duction” tooling, also known as ‘Prototype-to-Production” tooling. This type of tooling is production steel multi-cavity tooling, with the 1st cavity being the prototype tool. When the 1st cavity is constructed, sampled, adjusted, and approved, then the remaining cavities are built to match the prototype cavity. The result is a production multi-cavity steel injection mold tool, in half the time of the traditional 2-step process of building a stand-alone prototype tool, then a multi-cavity production tool.Construction timelines have been reduced, since the typical ‘prototype’ tooling phase tightly integrates with the construction of the production tool.

Overall tooling cost is reduced, since stand-alone prototype tooling is avoided. Financial risk is mitigated, since you don’t order the construction of the remaining production cavities until the prototype cavity is approved.Proto-duction Tooling is a cost effective way to produce prototype and production tooling. There are no geometry limits, no volume limits and no manufacturing limits on your part. Any commercially available material can be used in the production of the part and any surface finish can be applied.

Want to learn more about Proto-duction tooling?  Visit Quickparts to find out how proto-duction can work for you at http://www.quickparts.com/ToolingProduction/ProductionInjection.aspx.