June 10, 2013
Additive manufacturing (AM) is great for plenty of applications, but it does have some disadvantages when it comes to certain areas. Industrial 3D printers may be able to build enough parts in one batch, thanks to a large build envelope, to make mass manufacturing worthwhile, but desktop AM systems are less useful for such applications.
LNS Technologies is looking to fill the gap between AM and injection molding for small runs of plastic parts by offering a desktop plastic injection molding system. Already fully funded via Kickstarter, the company plans to sell its system for $1,500, which is cheap for nearly any injection system that isn’t fueled by Play-Doh.
The PIM-SHOOTER Model-150A offers a mold size of up to 7 x 5 x 5 in. with a shot capacity of 1.25 cu. inch volume or 21 grams weight. The machine can handle ABS, PE, PP, PS, ACETAL, EVA, and TPE plastics and has a footprint comparable to one of those can smashers people bolt to their walls.
Although users will still have to get molds made to use the machine, the ability to pop out a small run of plastic objects without waiting multiple hours for a desktop 3D printer to finish a single print could make the LNS Technologies’ offering a useful tool for trial runs of products or offer greater capacity to small manufacturers and colleges.
From the Kickstarter page:
So what our machine offers is a way for individuals, small businesses or even large companies to use low cost aluminum molds to produce their own prototype partsff. Or they can even make moderate production runs of a custom plastic product. In addition, this machine makes it convenient to test various plastic resins and to confirm that a part can actually be molded.
Below you’ll find the Kickstarter video for the PIM-SHOOTER Model-150A.