Game-Changing New Technology for Product Prototyping [YouTube]

Game-Changing New Technology for Product Prototyping [YouTube]

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There’s a new technology that is a total game changer when it comes to developing and manufacturing a new product on a limited budget.

In fact, I’d call this new technology “Earth-shattering” for entrepreneurs, startups, and smaller companies developing a new hardware product.

And, surprisingly, I bet you’ve never heard of it before even though it can save you thousands of dollars and allow you to get your product to market much faster.

You won’t find this technology discussed anywhere online yet, and it’s really the best kept secret in all of product development!

I think it’s the best new technology for developing a product since the invention of the 3D printer so you do not want to miss this video.

At the end of this video I’ll give you some price estimates so you can see how much money this technology can save you.

But first, let me explain the general problem that this new technology solves.

3D printing is great for making early prototypes of your product, but 3D printed parts will never look like, feel like, or have the same level of quality or durability as production parts.

Basically, 3D printed parts look like they’re 3D printed, and not mass manufactured. So they look like a prototype and not a “real” product yet.

In most cases, you don’t want to sell your product using 3D printed parts, so your marketing and sales activity is limited by their non-production quality.

To get production-quality units you need to use the same method that’s used in mass manufacturing which is injection molding.

However, injection molds are made of metal and they’re expensive – costing thousands of dollars each, and it typically takes many weeks to have them made.

This has always been a HUGE obstacle for anyone launching a new product on a limited budget.

It’s critical for you to limit your expenses as much as possible until you prove your product will succeed, and the only way to prove it will sell is by having a successful sales test.

In the past, if you wanted production-quality parts that you could actually sell then, you only had one choice, and that was to pay for expensive metal molds.

This meant there was no way to do a sales test without first spending thousands of dollars on expensive metal molds and waiting for weeks for their completion.

The other big problem with metal molds is they are difficult to modify, and you almost always need to make design changes during early stages of development.

Injection molds also need to withstand high temperatures since the plastic that’s injected is in a liquid molten state.

This is why injection molds have always been made from metal, usually aluminum or steel.

Fortunately, there are finally some better options.

Instead of 3D printing your product, you can now 3D print an injection mold for your product!

What’s so exciting is that there are various new materials that can be 3D printed and withstand the heat and pressure required for injection molding.

These 3D printing materials include:

1) High-temperature plastic

2) Ceramic

3) Dissolvable, high-temperature plastic

You don’t need to 3D print the entire mold. Instead, you just print inserts which are then embedded in a generic metal mold.

Your first option is to use a plastic resin that can withstand the high temperature and pressure for molding.

This will generally be the cheapest option, although the next two options are also very affordable.

The second option is to 3D print these mold inserts out of ceramic. And, yes, there are 3D printers that can actually print ceramics.

Here’s an example of this type of ceramic insert.

Ceramic is the most durable material you can choose for 3D printing these injection molds and it will typically last longer (i.e you’ll get more shots out of it) than the plastic options.

That being said, these 3D printed molds are so reasonably priced that you don’t need to produce that many units for it to make financial sense.

In fact, with the third option you only get one shot per mold since it uses a dissolvable mold.

Dissolvable mold? It sounds crazy at first but there are now dissolvable plastics that open up lots of new possibilities and using them is referred to as “Freeform Injection Molding”.

One of the main complexities with any type of injection molding, whether a traditional metal mold or a 3D-printed mold, is that you have to follow very strict rules when designing any parts, to make them injection-molding friendly.

For more details on all the injection molding rules see my suggested video at the end of this one.

Many of these design rules are necessary in order for the plastic parts to be easily removed from the mold.

For example, you can’t have what’s called an undercut because doing so will make the part impossible to remove from the mold.

You either need to get creative in your design to eliminate any undercuts, or you typically would need an even more expensive mold incorporating what are called side actions.

Side actions are moving parts of a mold that are inserted during molding, and then removed after the part is solidified.

Using a dissolvable mold completely eliminates this design restriction because you no longer have to pull the part out of the mold.

Instead, you just dissolve the mold away, leaving the finished part behind.

This is why it’s called Freeform Injection Molding, because you can freely mold any shaped part without the typical restrictions of injection molding.

Here’s an example of a dissolvable plastic mold.

These molds will usually be dissolved away using sodium hydroxide, but you can even use distilled water, although the dissolve time will be much longer.

A couple of points to keep in mind. First, eventually you will want to use traditional metal molds for mass manufacturing, so it’s in your long-term best interest to design your parts to meet the typical rules required for injection molding.

Secondly, since a dissolvable mold only produces a single part, the part cost will be much higher.

For these reasons, I think a non-dissolvable high-temperature plastic or better yet ceramic will be the best choice for most products.

If you want to implement this really exciting new technology, you have two options:

1) Purchase your own Nexa3D printer which is capable of printing with all three of these materials. This printer costs around $8,000 so it’s not feasible for everyone. If you use the dissolvable molds, you’ll also need an agitator which adds another $2k.

2) Your second option is to purchase the 3D-printed molds from a supplier, although I only know of one company that offers this service.

Next, you’ll have four options for actually molding your plastic parts:

1) You can purchase a low-cost hand press which allows you to do the injection molding yourself at home. These can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars.

2) Your second option is to give the 3D-printed mold inserts to a local injection molding company, or one you already work with, and have them do the actual injection molding.

3) If you’re only producing a few molded prototype units then I know of one company that offers this service.

4) Finally, if you need 300+ units, then there’s another company I recommend.

So, you’re probably thinking this all sounds amazing, but how much cheaper is it compared to using a traditional metal mold?

There are lots of variables, like size, but for smaller parts, the cheapest metal mold you can buy is at least $1,500.

And keep in mind that every unique plastic part that makes up your product will require a separate mold.

Even with the simplest enclosure design you’ll need at least two molds: one for the topside, and one for the bottom side. So that’s a minimum cost of about $3k, if you’re lucky.

Compare that to a 3D-printed mold that can cost as little as $50 for small parts, so a total of only $100 for a two piece enclosure.

This huge savings is why this new technology is such a game-changer!

Anyone taking advantage of this amazing new technology has a MASSIVE advantage over the competition, especially since your competition likely doesn’t even know it exists yet.

This technology is still unknown to most, and there are only a couple of companies currently offer it.

Members of my Hardware Academy have special access to this earth-shattering technology, and in fact we recently held a live workshop recently that was hosted by one of the companies behind these new molds.

If you enjoyed this video and would like to learn more about injection molding then check out this video here.

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