Video: Metal AM Affects Plastics Production via Conformal Cooling

Additive manufacturing allows cooling channels within mold tooling inserts to follow the form of the tool rather than being straight drilled holes. Here’s why this matters.
#3dprinting #conformalcooling


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3D printed conformal cooling mold insert

Mold insert with conformal cooling channels that can be seen in the transparent model in the foreground.


Custom Mold & Design (CMD) of Forest Lake, Minnesota, has been getting a lot of press lately and rightly so. This engineering company that designs and builds molds has made the move to additive manufacturing with its investment in a hybrid machine that performs both selective laser sintering and high-speed milling.  CMD is using the technology to produce conformal-cooled inserts.

Although I cover this shop’s journey to the decision to buy the Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 machine next month in MoldMaking Technology, here, Editor-in-Chief Pete Zelinski of sister brand Additive Manufacturing Media explains how the machine works:



I’m at Matsuura. One of the most significant impacts of metal additive manufacturing is going to be on plastic part production. I’m referring to conformal cooling, the chance to use additive manufacturing to build conforming cooling channels into an injection mold component. More effective cooling potentially means seconds per part shaved from the injection molding cycle, the cycle making a plastic part. Seconds per part might not sound like much, but multiply that across millions of parts that might be made through injection molding, might be made using a tool like this, and the result could be production so much faster that fewer injection molding presses would be needed to achieve the same production in the same amount of time.

One other feature of this machine from Matsuura: It is a hybrid machine. In addition to building additively, it also mills as it goes, machining the part to completion within the same cycle. The result can be considerable lead time savings for the chance to make this component complete all in one cycle as opposed to different setups for machining, EDM, heat treating.

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