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Injection Mold in a Haas MiniMill

Hi Houdini:
I've built a ton of molds on my vintage 2001 Minimill, some of them way out of the league you are supposed to be able to do on such a low end platform.
Here's one of the ones I'm most proud of:
DSCN2497.JPG
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Here's a detail shot of the cold side:
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It features all kinds of nifty mechanical stuff...interchangeable angled slides, a lifter, accelerated ejection, sprung ejection in one of the slides etc etc...one of those tools you can drive yourself crazy with.
But it came out great even though all my moldmaking buddies thought I was nuts for taking it on with my primitive gear.

Here's another kinder, simpler one that goes in a Morgan press:
DSCN3085.JPG
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And here's a last one that only needed the Minimill and a grinder for the ejector pins:
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So yeah, you can do a lot with pretty simple gear...I got a lotta hate from guys who had popped for the whippo zippo high end machines and then got killed by the monthly payments while I was eating their lunches with my cheapo mill and still making good coin.

So kudos to you...you've built a nice looking tool on that piddler machine.
You need to be PROUD!
Now to get yourself an old beater Stinker EDM so you can smell like a REAL moldmaker, and your wife can make you take off your clothes before you get to come in the house. :D

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
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Hi Houdini:
I've built a ton of molds on my vintage 2001 Minimill, some of them way out of the league you are supposed to be able to do on such a low end platform.
Here's one of the ones I'm most proud of:
View attachment 421823

Here's a detail shot of the cold side:
View attachment 421824

It features all kinds of nifty mechanical stuff...interchangeable angled slides, a lifter, accelerated ejection, sprung ejection in one of the slides etc etc...one of those tools you can drive yourself crazy with.
But it came out great even though all my moldmaking buddies thought I was nuts for taking it on with my primitive gear.

Here's another kinder, simpler one that goes in a Morgan press:
View attachment 421834
View attachment 421835

And here's a last one that only needed the Minimill and a grinder for the ejector pins:
View attachment 421833

So yeah, you can do a lot with pretty simple gear...I got a lotta hate from guys who had popped for the whippo zippo high end machines and then got killed by the monthly payments while I was eating their lunches with my cheapo mill and still making good coin.

So kudos to you...you've built a nice looking tool on that piddler machine.
You need to be PROUD!
Now to get yourself an old beater Stinker EDM so you can smell like a REAL moldmaker, and your wife can make you take off your clothes before you get to come in the house. :D

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
Nice!
Yeah if we head back down the injection mold road I'll need a sinker at the least.
I don't really build any molds now I opened my own shop, just a couple maybe.
Without having the injection molding machines to actually make the money part of the deal, its just not worth it to just offer making the tools, running them is where the money is.

I was eyeballin a FCS Injection mold, amazing how much cheaper they are than mills, may go TOYO just to have a better machine for the money though, IF we go down the injection mold road.
FCS price.png
 
Hi again Houdini:
Interesting...I grew up in a time and a place when a toolroom could still do well, and all the molders were bitching constantly about how they could never make any money.
So I drank the Koolaid and never ventured into that side of it.

Interestingly too, most of the molds I built never ran production for more than a year at best...Vancouver Canada was a place mostly for the wacky inventor and cheapo entrepreneur market back then.
Pretty much all of them went belly up eventually, and that was when I worked in some of the better toolrooms in my catchment area in the 1970's.
We still made decent money in spite of that.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
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Hi again Houdini:
Interesting...I grew up in a time and a place when a toolroom could still do well, and all the molders were bitching constantly about how they could never make any money.
So I drank the Koolaid and never ventured into that side of it.

Interestingly too, most of the molds I built never ran production for more than a year at best...Vancouver Canada was a place mostly for the wacky inventor and cheapo entrepreneur market back then.
Pretty much all of them went belly up eventually, and that was when I worked in some of the better toolrooms in my catchment area in the 1970's.
We still made decent money.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
I think also it was the market we were in, most our molds ran for more than a year, but we did China compete stuff.
So almost all our molds were 7075 Al, and pretty much zero EDM work.
So you would build MUD sets in less than a week, and a standard mold was usually 2-3 weeks.
Then all is in house engineering, machining, injection, maintenance.

With that they pretty much gave the molds away at a wash to get people away from the Chinese market, and it worked, most people that actually tried to go to China came back.
my buddy who owned the last shop said that the machine shop made shit for money, just paid for the employees to be there, and the equipment to get bought, just to make molds at a wash,
but made million$ in molding parts.

But also we made molds and parts for the largest blow mold plastic part manufacturer in the world, that helps.

I could make money making molds, but I make way more, or at least easier, doing production machining.
BUT I could make that dinero if I want to give up more time to setup a injection shop, at 50 I'm thinking NO.

With tryin to go injection molding also, I am training my 22 year old son to take things over, and when I asked if he wanted to learn injection mold engineering, and mold machining, and learning to run an injection mold,
he was like " Is it anything like playing Call of Duty", Nope, then NO. :D
 
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Hi again Houdini:
Remember those fond, fond days when a toolmaker was a GOD of the machining world, at least in his own imagination (and as many others as he could convince).
Neckties and white shirts and prima donna attitude and only the very best Etalon micrometers.

Oh the nostalgia!

Now nobody has to be able to work the turntable on the Bridgeport, and run the Deckel pantograph anymore...it's so sad!
Now those Goddam heathens in faraway places can do it just as good as we can, and we can't charge the premium prices anymore or tell everyone how GOOD we are.

It's about logistics now...we need to be planners and not doers...that's what the million dollar gadget is for.
Pretty soon no one will be able to butcher a hog anymore and we'll all starve in the middle of the farm.
But we'll be damn good at "Call of Duty".

My kid has zero interest in what I do and know too.
He came out with a good one recently..."can you get rid of all your shit before you die...I don't want to have to deal with it!"
It was tongue in cheek...but only just barely.

Sign of the times.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
My kid has zero interest in what I do and know too.
He came out with a good one recently..."can you get rid of all your shit before you die...I don't want to have to deal with it!"
It was tongue in cheek...but only just barely.

Hahah, that is too funny :bawling:
Yeah I started to teach my son the money game couple years, and explain to him as a worker how it is for me as the business owner, and how much money he makes me, but isn't given to him.
He only gets paid $16hr(So do I) but it was to teach him the game of money.

Now for the past year I have been teaching him how the business runs, teaching him about investing, having him learn to have his money make him money, not a job trading time for money, youll never make shit doing that.

I explained to him if he wanted a piece of paper job he would need that paper and have to go to school for years, but it doesn't mean you'll make money though.

All this is sinking in, so him understanding diversifying his assets, as in starting a injection mold shop, will better secure earning for him to invest.
I'll bet in a couple years he will be down to get it going.

This year he just took all his money from the past 3 years he has been helping me and invested it, he saved $60k@ $15hr, goo yob!
I didn't have $60k invested at 22, so off to a good start.
 
As long as you guys are having fun patting each other on the back, I'd like to point out (since @Houdini16 brought up 'school' in previous posts about injection molding): neither of you is an "Injection Molding Engineer" by education. This idea that schools somehow prepare any of the real experts in these fields is a joke. You guys are the experts. The people who have done it have all the tribal knowledge. If there is some injection molding engineer out there, they got the knowledge the same way you guys did.

Since someone will chime in that they have degree programs in this: I have an introduction to injection molding text book sitting here that cost me north of $300 and it's trash. Lots of theory and math and nearly nothing practical about the design or real process of injection molding anything.

It's fantastic if you want a table of heat loss in a mold or whatever the heck is contained in that thing. It's a master's level study of the physics involved but, worthless if you want to build a mold from nothing. I skimmed a few of the chapters after buying it (at least ten years ago), stuck it on the shelf and moved on. It would be like someone wanting to learn machining and starting with electron microscope views of high speed machining chip formation: interesting but hardly helpful or applicable.

Take credit for the skills you acquired and developed through seeking knowledge and on your own.
 
As long as you guys are having fun patting each other on the back, I'd like to point out (since @Houdini16 brought up 'school' in previous posts about injection molding): neither of you is an "Injection Molding Engineer" by education. This idea that schools somehow prepare any of the real experts in these fields is a joke. You guys are the experts. The people who have done it have all the tribal knowledge. If there is some injection molding engineer out there, they got the knowledge the same way you guys did.

Since someone will chime in that they have degree programs in this: I have an introduction to injection molding text book sitting here that cost me north of $300 and it's trash. Lots of theory and math and nearly nothing practical about the design or real process of injection molding anything.

It's fantastic if you want a table of heat loss in a mold or whatever the heck is contained in that thing. It's a master's level study of the physics involved but, worthless if you want to build a mold from nothing. I skimmed a few of the chapters after buying it (at least ten years ago), stuck it on the shelf and moved on. It would be like someone wanting to learn machining and starting with electron microscope views of high speed machining chip formation: interesting but hardly helpful or applicable.

Take credit for the skills you acquired and developed through seeking knowledge and on your own.
I agree school, depending, has just became another business, the education is low, and its government back loans, so the school just lets anyone rip through with minimal skill sets to show for it.
On the plus side the current young generations due to the internet and Youtube, are finding this out and bailing on the "you need college to live well", its BS that has came and went.

If my son doesn't want to learn molding, it is too bad also, a large skill set that not a lot of people know, not passed by this individual.

Also as Donkey mentioned above neither is an "Injection Mold Engineer" but most people I know that do injection mold tooling only machine it. They arent the engineers that actually design and engineer the mold,
I dont know anyone running Autodicks mold flow, and actually engineering the molds, they usually dont even design them, they just machine them, which is a separate skill by itself, not like just cranking out parts.

But I did work as the mold engineer, and i did have to run mold flow software on some molds, after a while you dont really need the engineering its stuck in your head, but its nice to get a better look at where to put air vents,
or if your going to need excess cooling in a core....
 
While were on it that's a business that could be jumped on that isn't huge, 3d metal printed mold cores. For cooling convenience.
1704395245639.png
 
Hi again Donkey and Houdini:
I too, did both the mold design and the mold making.
I often did the part design too, or at least the "design for molding" and had to learn sometimes painfully what works and what does not.

In my experience, the jams you get yourself back out of are the most valuable lessons you'll ever learn in a profession like Plastics Engineering, and if you got to fuck it up in every sub domain, you have a better chance to get good at all of it, and it informs your designs in a way you simply cannot duplicate with any other learning process.

I was most fortunate, early in my moldmaking career, to work in a place that did their own molding too, so I got to see the successes and the failures too.
I got to see just how an impatient monkey can fuck up an expensive tool, I got to see what sophisticated cooling and venting and gating can do to make a mold run well, I got to see how it all works in an integrated way to get those 5 cent plastic parts, all good for tolerances and molded in the proper part of the processing window so they had the material properties the customer wanted.

I got to see every dirty trick a molder can use to get parts out of a substandard mold and I got to see which corners they routinely cut to pull out a cheaper part so they can make more money.
Super valuable lessons all...I'm glad I was lucky enough to get them.

Now I have a whole new generation of kids to acquaint with all this tribal knowledge...many of them are super smart kids, but they really have no idea of what they don't know, and when I call them on something they pulled out of a text somewhere, they are baffled that the reality could be so different from what they got from the book.
The odd one laments "But the book SAYS..."

Learning how to teach the new kids has been as much of an education for me as acquiring my own knowledge has been.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 
I got to see just how an impatient monkey can fuck up an expensive tool,

I got to see every dirty trick a molder can use to get parts out of a substandard mold
This type of thing gets old fast! at our facility they ended up making me the supervisor for molding also, and employees weren't allowed to remove stuck parts anymore.
I was sick of them fuqn up the/my molds.
I ended up gathering a odd set of extraction tools and techniques, those skills were passed to the supervisor over time, he was a little more competent than just the operators.
You can never build a idiot proof mold, they always make a better idiot to counteract it :D
 
What trade show and trade magazines serve the injection molding industry? I have never been able to crack that. Everyone has their own. Plastec is coming up in Anaheim but, it's like one aisle of very vaguely related services and equipment in a much larger, co-located show.
 
If molding plant is not using treated deionised water in their chillers and mould heaters and blowing cooling channel properly after each run then conformal cooling is a very bad idea.

5 years down the line somebody will have to deal with a blocked channel like that and no way of actually drilling out the crud. Just saying.
While were on it that's a business that could be jumped on that isn't huge, 3d metal printed mold cores. For cooling convenience.

As for the topic. In the past they used to build injection and compression moulds using full on manual machines. You can also make them on clapped out machines as long as you know all the quirks- work WITH the machine and remeasure often.
Problem is, can you really make money working this way now? Having upgraded to budget machines such as Hurco and XYZ myself I have to say it's SO much easier not having to worry about their repeatability so much.

You can learn how to design moulds by yourself aswell. There is loads of resources on web and books found online for willing person, but as Implex said experienced gained from seeing the moulds run in production environment and troubleshooting teething problems is invaluable.

Well done Houdinin, you must have been well chuffed pulling this one out :)
 
What trade show and trade magazines serve the injection molding industry? I have never been able to crack that. Everyone has their own. Plastec is coming up in Anaheim but, it's like one aisle of very vaguely related services and equipment in a much larger, co-located show.
I've never paid attention, I do receive 2-3 trade magazines, but I just chuck them, their is a show but I can remember what it is.
I'll ask the machine vendor.
 
What trade show and trade magazines serve the injection molding industry? I have never been able to crack that. Everyone has their own. Plastec is coming up in Anaheim but, it's like one aisle of very vaguely related services and equipment in a much larger, co-located show.
Ok machine vendor said "WestPack/MDM&A" in Feb. and "NPE in Orlando, FL—which is usually every 3 years, but we haven’t had one in a long time due to Covide."
 
If molding plant is not using treated deionised water in their chillers and mould heaters and blowing cooling channel properly after each run then conformal cooling is a very bad idea.

5 years down the line somebody will have to deal with a blocked channel like that and no way of actually drilling out the crud. Just saying.

yeah this can be an issue, usually whats good for the water is bad for the molds and vice versa.

but as Implex said experienced gained from seeing the moulds run in production environment and troubleshooting teething problems is invaluable.
It is such an engineering help to see the molds ran, no substitute!
 
Ok machine vendor said "WestPack/MDM&A" in Feb. and "NPE in Orlando, FL—which is usually every 3 years, but we haven’t had one in a long time due to Covide."
Yeah, the first one is Plastec. Little to nothing to be seen or learned there. Fanuc had an injection molding area in their booth at IMTS 2014 but, it was one machine and not really marketing different machines or hardware.
 
It is such an engineering help to see the molds ran, no substitute!
You learn a lot more if you are doing the machine setup and tuning yourself. I think the most important part of a mold is the gates, and knowing how to use them when running the mold. Getting that right is the most important part of a good running cold runner mold.

Funny thing is I made molds for 7 years and it was only on manual equipment. I only got to dream about using CAD and a cnc machine.
 








 
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