3D printed injection mould to produce general-purpose electric fans

Editor: Thomas Masuch

Dr. Jozsef Gabor Kovacs, head of the Department of Polymer Engineering Laboratory, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, has recently sought the assistance of 3D printing technology when faced with a design challenge posed by a major manufacturer.

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(Source: Stratasys)

The university announced that Kovacs and his team were commissioned to design a general purpose electric fan that could provide enhanced cooling but at a significantly reduced noise level. The new design also had to pass safety tests performed under extreme load conditions.

To perform the tests, the team needed an efficient method of producing injection-moulded prototypes from the same material that would be used to create the final product.

Stratasys: A ‘Whale’ of a time with additive manufacturing

Three prospective fan designs were created using an Objet350 Connex 3D printer from Stratasys. Within hours, the prototypes were ready to be placed onto an engine axis for testing. During the next two days, Kovacs designed and printed a three-part injection mould from Digital ABS material, the University said. The mould was then mounted onto an Arburg Allrounder 70-tonne injection moulding machine and several thermoplastic fans were produced from Polyoxymethylene (POM).