Rapid Tooling – What Are the Major Shifts in Tooling Recently?

Rapid tooling is considered the most convenient and practical way to produce uniform parts fast, especially for prototyping. Product designers and engineers rely on it for product development, trials, and functional and process verification. However, it is also versatile for end-use production and small-batch runs. The process usually involves injection molding, which can deliver high-quality and low-volume production-quality components from production resins.

Today, it is also considered end-use prototype manufacturing as it can produce production-grade parts, even when their main purpose is for prototyping. However, the costs and lead times are significantly lower than full production tooling. It is one of the latest trends in rapid tooling that can bring more value to you, especially when you work with a reputable service provider.

How does it work?

Rapid injection molding uses molds made from aluminum or steel. The latter is preferred for custom tooling for low-volume end-use production, as it can deliver more than double the parts of aluminum molds. That means a lower upfront investment with flexibility in developing production-grade materials accurately and fast.

Bridging production and prototyping

Rapid injection molding bridges prototyping and production as it delivers parts made from actual materials. That makes it useful for other purposes, such as market testing. Unlike rapid prototyping, rapid tooling produces a tool or a mold that lets you produce parts quickly while ensuring suitability as a tool.

Rapid molding technologies

Various types of rapid molding technologies exist today. Here are some examples:

  1. High-speed cutting

Fast-cutting machine tools can complete around 15,000 to 25,000 revolutions per minute to increase processing efficiency while reducing molding time. The mold surface can be ready with minimal polishing, making the process economical.

  1. Molding method based on rapid prototyping

You could use different 3D printing methods in rapid tooling to create non-metal low-life and long-life metal molds. They reduce the manufacturing and design cycle while ensuring savings.

  1. Aluminum alloy

Aluminum alloy materials are practical for making plastic molds for their low weight, high thermal conductivity, and excellent cutting performance.


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