The great idea for your product or part might start on a piece of paper or even a cocktail napkin – but before it gets to your parts manufacture, it needs to undergo a transformation. In this article, we’re going to look at why you and your plastic injection mold designer should be using SolidWorks CAD for all steps of the part and mold designing process, and why it delivers not only a better product but also a smoother process with less time and money spent.
SolidWorks CAD is Built with Tool Designers in Mind
While there are many CAD (Computer-Aided Design) programs out there, we use and recommend the use of the SolidWorks CAD suite of programs. As the name implies, SolidWorks deals with creating solid 3D objects in a computer environment. Not only does this provide the ability to quickly build and visualize an individual part, but then to also build the mold directly around it to allow the entire process to be designed and tested digitally to reduce times and costs.
Better (and Faster) CAD Part Reviews
We exclusively use SolidWorks CAD software to review part designs. Having one standardized system for review helps us quote your project accurately and see potential problem areas before molds are made. Designing and building a mold is very expensive but using CAD files and the SolidWorks suit of modeling, simulation, and communication tools allows us to communicate quickly and efficiently with your engineers and designers on part reviews.
Note that multiple file types can be imported into SolidWorks. The best options are 3D solid files, such as Parasolid (.x_t), IGES (.gs), STEP (.stp) and ACIS (.sat).
Providing Accurate and Consistent Part Prototyping
Often, we’re contacted before the product is completed and all that exists is CAD files, design art, and maybe a product or part prototype. By involving your plastic parts manufacturer this early in the phase, they can help you better design the product and part to meet the demands and realities of physical parts production and also save costs down the line. Once the mold building has been completed and the validation process started, making part design changes becomes very expensive. This is why it is invaluable to have an experienced eye review part designs before the prototype and mold are finalized.
Quality and Design Validation Every Step of the Way
Here at Midstate Mold, we pride ourselves on our attention to detail and quality control every step of the way. That’s why when we design mold for our clients, we find SolidWorks CAD to be the best tool for the job. Beyond the ability to create CAD files, it also has a suite of tools designed to help validate designs for needs specifically for the injection molding process, including:
- Draft Analysis: Analyzing parts for tapering or sloped sides for cleaner profiles and parts release.
- Wall Thickness: Analyzing parts for proper thickness to avoid issues with the plastic flow during injection.
- Part Complexity: Looking at part designs for undercuts and other feature that make for multiple or more complex parts. Simplifying these parts can lead to stronger and cheaper parts.
You can tell a lot about a manufacturer by the tool they use. We think SolidWorks CAD is one of the best design tools on the market and has served both our clients and us well with every software release. Want to learn how we can apply our part design and manufacturing process to your product? Contact Midstate Mold & Engineering today or fill out our online consultation form. Feel free to also review our parts manufacturing process or review our blog archives for more details.