CAD/CAM Takes You from Prototype to Part

This application story proves that CAD/CAM can be for much more than just injection molding by taking you from prototype to part.


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Injection molder Rutland Plastics uses VISI software for much more than designing molds. Using its Objet 3D printer, it designed and manufactured a secondary operation jig, which halved the manpower required for the shop floor assembly.  According to the company, this CAD/CAM system is not just for creating injection molds, it’s an extremely powerful system for anything in the design world. 

VISI’s role in ensuring the company could competitively produce a pipe coupling for the drainage industry is an example of its versatility. Rutland used VISI to create a 3D printed prototype of the coupling, the production mold and a unique jig to automate a manual part of the operation.

They claim the mesh functionality within VISI was a useful tool when preparing the model geometry for printing on the Objet Connex 350. The mesh feature set provides tools to clean-up problematic vertices, simplify, fill holes and analyze the mesh topology. Printing a fit-for-purpose prototype meant the customer could fit prototype physical model to the pipes, ensuring it functioned as expected, before having the mold built.

As the part had already been designed in VISI, it was a seamless CAD through CAM process to manufacture the mold in P20 hardened tool steel. VISI Mold’s essential model preparation tools inspect the model data for molding feasibility, while draft analysis interrogates the model to easily identify any potential design issues.

They used the split line and plane creation function for the two cavities, and then built up the ancillaries around that to design the tool as a whole. It meant they could be sure of the accuracy of each individual aspect – namely the cavity plates, the backing plate, the ejector system, the risers and the clamping plates.

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