SOME EXAMPLES OF PRODUCTS MADE WITH SOFT TOOLING
Below are shown some examples of plastic parts. These custom molded plastic parts are typical short run applications. Some were products required by established industries, and some are products introduced to the market by inventors who have experienced substantial success.
These parts are molded in a family tool, and are assembled, along with an electrical magnetic switch, to form an overflow alarm for air conditioning systems.
The economy of producing multiple parts for a single assembly in the same mold helps to make an economical and competitive entry into a crowded market for this compact and innovative device.
This hand protector is designed to attach to a 1 1/4" diameter stick (sword) used in medieval combat reenactments. These combats are done with full replica body armor, and, with a "no punches pulled" style of fighting, the protector must withstand heavy blows from an opponent's weapon. It is not unusual for 14 gage steel helmets to be dented in such melees, but the polypropylene-rubber graft polymer used withstands the hardest blows. The metallic coloring is achieved by the addition of aluminum flakes to the raw plastic material.
This is a case of a specialty market which would be prohibitively expensive to serve with conventional injection molding.
These colorful buttons for an ATM machine with raised letters and Braille, shown here mounted on the electronic switchbase, are molded in a family mold. The different colors are achieved by means of a rotary runner selector which allows only a given set of cavities to be run at one time. This cost saving technique allows the production of various parts from the same mold without the necessity of molding all of the parts at once, or even of the same material.
A variant of this technique is the family mold, in which a frame holds one or more sets of smaller "sub-molds" which can be switched or combined at will. Dragonjewel has a selection of such frames, which can substantially reduce the cost of a variety of parts.
This ABS box for a dryer vent has an exterior decorative frame. Approximately 10" x 7", this molding weighs a total of 1 1/2 lbs. It provides the homeowner with a clean, safe way to attach the dryer vent of a clothes dryer to the exterior vent.
The metal insert provides UL required protection against heat, while providing a simple and safe connection to any dryer hose.
Short run molding allowed this innovative item to be introduced quickly at minimal cost, while providing a professional appearance which would have been unattainable with handcrafted or bent metal versions of the same concept.
This grille is for a specialized dehumidifier. The outer rim accepts a decorative metal rim which also serves to help locate the grill in place.
Each of the hexagonal openings are slanted to the front plane of the grille in order to direct the incoming air flow to the areas needing cooling.
One opening has a built-up area to accept a hygrometer.
The material is black ABS, which is tough and impact resistant, appropriate for portable equipment.
These are - you guessed it - "mother of pearl" diamonds for pool tables.
Made of hard, durable acrylic these sighting diamonds are glued into matching depressions in the rails of pool tables. They are much less expensive than the earlier cut and polished shell diamonds and, unlike the natural material, are nearly immune to damage from dropped pool balls and carelessly wielded cue sticks.
The simple pattern was duplicated fourteen times over on a pattern tracing engraver to provide an inexpensive fourteen cavity mold.
This is a spring-loaded sewer cap, used in R.V. parks for holding tank cleanout.
The base fits a 4 inch diameter sewer line and has internal threads. The lid, body and hinge pin are all made in a three cavity mold. The dark ring is a stamped rubber gasket seal.
The material is a tough, durable 15% glass filled nylon with ultraviolet inhibitor to prevent damage from sunlight or vehicle impact.
This is a typical niche market that can be profitably served by short run molding
LOOK! Up in the sky! It's a flying saucer!
This promotional "flying saucer" flies every bit as well as a Frisbee (TM) and is a great hit with kids. Some are colored silver, some translucent with sparkles, some glow in the dark for nighttime games of catch.
Designed as a promotional give-away for an insurance business, the product has taken on a modest sales life of its own.
This special flowerpot for African Violets supports the drooping leaves, while the clear watering reservoir keeps the plant watered, for up to two weeks, by means of a string wick.
The polypropylene pot comes in several colors, which are matched by similar colors in the transparent styrene water reservoir.