Industry Zones

Die/Mold Machining
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Die/Mold Machining primarily refers to the machining of complex 3D forms. Stamping dies, forming dies, forging dies, injection molds and blow molds are all examples of tooling that might have complex shapes precisely mirroring or matching the intended shape of some final, mass-produced part. Complex fixtures and composites layup tools are also examples of milled parts that might have a similar complex 3D shape. High speed machining is an important topic for die/mold machining, because of the need to take light milling passes productively in order to realize both the required geometry and the required surface finish. Hard milling is another important issue, because many molds and dies are milled in their hardened state, to prevent heat treating from affecting the geometry. In addition to milling, EDM is another machining technology used to produce dies and molds. For certain machined features and for certain hard workpieces, the more efficient way to produce the 3D form may be to mill that shape into a ram or sinker EDM electrode, then use that electrode to machine the shape into the final die or mold tooling. Hole making is another class of machining operations relative to die/mold machining. Dies and molds are assemblies that often consist of plates and other components with various holes for cooling, venting, ejection and other necessary functions of the tooling. Producing an injection mold, for example, can involve considerable drilling, tapping and helical milling of various holes in order to produce the needed components.

Featured Zone Content

Webinar: Engineering Changes Made Easy


A free webinar on Wednesday, December 12 highlights tools to help shops master the process of engineering change orders.

Fully Committed to Zero Stock Machining


Milling critical mold surfaces to final size (or even a “tenth” undersize) literally leaves no margin for error. This takes absolute confidence in every aspect of the machining process, as well as absolute confidence that the results are worthwhile.

Which Five-Axis Machine for Mold Makers?  


This Chicago-area mold shop compares tilting-spindle and tilting-table five-axis machines.

High speed VMC for mold making

Aluminum Molds In Three Weeks Or Less


While aluminum molds are commonly used to create prototypes or to serve as stopgap bridge tooling, they are starting to receive greater attention for production work. This shop’s approach to creating aluminum molds in one day to three weeks is the same for each of these situations.



Cutting Tool Edge Prep: The Invisible Advantage

By: Peter Zelinski
Edge preparation involves removing material from a cutting tool in order to extend its life. That may sound counterintuitive, but a maker of glass molds says edge prep has dramatically reduced the amount it spends on tools.

Where Do 3D-Printed Molds Make Sense?

By: Peter Zelinski
Stratasys describes the capabilities and limitations of 3D “digital ABS” molds for making plastic parts through injection molding or blow molding.

Armed for Accuracy

By: Russ Willcutt
Portable metrology arms provide many benefits, as do standard CMMs, but how do these devices differ from each other? This company relies on both and describes the applications for which these technologies are particularly well-suited.

Improvement Is Not Optional

Improvement Is Not Optional

By: Peter Zelinski
No matter how busy this shop gets, it continues to pull teams of employees out of production so they can focus on solving problems to make incremental process changes. The advances add up. Today, this is a very different shop than it once was.

Video: Additive Manufacturing at Linear Mold

By: Peter Zelinski
The company uses 3D printing to create conformal-cooling mold inserts in addition to production parts.


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