A Look Back on a Year With MMT

Here’s a look back at some of the articles from the first half of the year that helped me—and, I hope, you—learn more about this industry and the technology it employs.

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Since starting my editing career at our sister publication Modern Machine Shop, it's always amazed me that so many everyday products could be traced back to skilled craftsmen cutting cavities from hardened steel.

The New Year is always a time for reflection, and suffice to say I’ve got plenty to reflect on from 2014. That includes more than just getting married, seeing friends do the same, visiting new places, buying a new car, and other personal developments, both superficial and otherwise. Things have changed professionally as well: It’s hard to believe it’s only been a little more than a year since I first came on board at MoldMaking Technology.

In that role, I think I’ve come a long way since writing this introductory blog post. I feel like I have a much better handle on what makes our readers’ operations tick—the technology they employ, their business strategies, the customers they serve, even what keeps them up at night. Thus, in 2015, I expect to be even more effective in meeting my goals. Above all, that includes providing readers with new insights into proven strategies for machining parts and running their businesses.  

Meanwhile, here’s a look back at some of the articles from just the first 6 months of 2014 that, I hope, did just that:

Close Relationship with Molder Pays Dividends – This January-issue shortie about Industrial Molds Group provided my first insight into the advantages of integrating toolmaking and molding capability. Later, I'd write another piece touching on this subject that covers how Built-Rite Tool & Die takes advantage of the opportunity to machine plastic parts after they come out of the mold.

Democratized Toolmaking – With few exceptions, mold shops almost always say “people” when I ask about what sets them apart from the competition. As detailed in this February article, Dura Mold was among the first to tell me about strategies for leveraging this critical resource.

Straight and Simple – At the outset of writing this March-issue case study, I didn’t fully appreciate the potential impact of a lifter design that supplies all needed motion within a straight, vertical plane, thereby eliminating the need for wire EDM or five-axis machining. Thanks to Tony Machado of Mid Missouri Tool and Die for taking the time to explain it to me!

From Craft to Science – The title of this April-issue article on Graphic Tool is my take on a phrase I’ve heard from quite a few shops since writing it. That is, the transition from “from mold building to mold manufacturing.” In my mind, this shop still stands out as a good example of what that transition entails.

Going to Extremes with EDM Drilling – Specializing in what you do best is a marked trend among the shops I’ve covered. Of course, as a dedicated EDM operation, the one covered in this April-issue article takes that to the extreme. This particular piece focuses on proper EDM start hole placement. 

Tapping Into Talent – In May, I got a moldmaker’s perspective on the skilled worker shortage through a profile on a European-style apprenticeship program that debuted in 2014. The development of this piece also led to a Q&A with yet another moldmaker, whose shop uses a similar program.     

The Intersection of Laser Sintering and EDM – For our June issue, most of my time was dominated by writing two feature articles, one for each of this year’s Leadtime Leader award winners. However, I also penned this case study. Writing it taught me a great deal about the advantages of conformal cooling, and, more specifically, how additive technology fits in with more traditional processes.  

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