Aluminum molds typically produce anywhere from 5-5,000 pieces. These molds can be acid etched, grained and typically offer better thermal properties than steel tooling for production quality parts.
We often introduce inserts made using our DMLS process to this type of tooling. Utilizing aluminum materials engineered for production such as Alcoa’s QC-10, these molds would typically produce parts made of mold friendly resins such as polypropylene and thermoplastic olefins (TPO).
Compression molding is a forming process in which a plastic material is placed directly into a heated metal mold, then is softened by the heat, and forced to conform to the shape of the mold as the mold closes. Mostly thermoset materials are processed by this method.
Polyurethane Foam Tooling
Linear manufactures polyurethane foam tooling for various foam parts.
Blow molds are used for production blow molded parts; molds are typically QC-10 or 6061-T6 and built to customer specifications.
Vacuum Form Molds
Vacuum forming is where a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto or into a single-surface mold, and held against the mold by applying a vacuum between the mold surface and the sheet. This process can be used in product packaging and speaker casings.
Silicon Molds produce rapid prototype urethane parts.
Hybrid Mold tooling typically starts with a CNC cut aluminum cavity or part. A Stereolithography (SLA) model is then nested into the cavity and the core side of the tool is cast against the cavity using a high temp aluminum filled mass cast resin. These tools typically offer a low volume of parts but have a good “A side” appearance. Features on the B side of the part are formed using metal inserts created from our DMLS machines, thus giving the features excellent functional properties.