A Colorado-based company called ShopBotix has created a desktop injection molding machine. Ten inches deep, and 34.5 inches wide and ten inches tall, the MicroMolder plugs into a regular 120V outlet on a 15-amp circuit, and can crank out parts as either single-shot or in an AutoRun mode; just load the hopper with nurdles and go.
The MicroMolder can use molds that you 3D print yourself (SLA or PolyJet), or you can use aluminum molds. As for materials, at press time the company confirmed they've successfully used "Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (HIPS), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), Acrylic, Polycarbonate (PC) and Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and we have more plastic types scheduled for testing."
Injection molding plastic over a 1/4-20 bolt to create a thumb screw fastener.
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You're undoubtedly wondering "How big of a part can I produce?" Their answer:
"We get this question a lot and it's an important one. Unfortunately, part output size is dependant on too many factors to quantify an x.xx" long by x.xx" wide by x.xx" tall answer. Tooling material, plastic type, tooling geometry, tooling cavity volume, sprue diameter, sprue length, runner diameter, runner length, etc. will all factor into the maximum size output. Furthermore, what works on one tool design won't always work on the next.
"Our mantra with MicroMolder is injection molding is more an art than a science. The more you work with tooling designs and go through iterative trial and error processes the more competent you will become. The largest volume of space we have injected into successfully with MicroMolder is ~1oz or 1.73^3. This was done with PE plastic into a 3D printed tool. For reference this is about a 1.21" cube of space."
At press time the MicroMolder, which starts at $3,599, was killing it on Kickstarter with $120,660 in pledges on a $35,000 goal, with 25 days left to pledge. They expect to start shipping in June of 2021.