The go-to solution for overmolding is metal tooling, either aluminum or hardened steel. This is a perfectly acceptable method in a high-volume production environment, and easy to justify the high tooling cost. However, for prototyping and low-volume production, the high tooling cost is a major barrier to meeting budgets and timelines. The option to use CNC machining drives up lead times and cost significantly. The other option is to direct 3D print parts, which can emulate the overall shape of the plastic part, but are not in the end-use material that will be used in production.
In this case study, Fortify put their value of quick-turn molded parts to the test when they needed a low-volume overmolded part on their 3D printers, but were running up against supply chain issues. The 3D printer manufacturer still overmolds these parts with their 3D printed tools today.
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