Legacy Precision Mold: An Inside View

Get an inside look into the technology and machines that make manufacturing products a reality every day at Legacy Precision Molds from the apprentice perspective.


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Legacy Precision Molds Inc. is a full-service design-through-build facility that specializes in high-precision plastic injection molds as heavy as 500 tons. Mold types range from single-cavity prototypes to multi-cavity, complex production molds for customers in automotive, medical, furniture and consumer products, among others. In addition to building molds, the company also provides value-added machining services for small-batch production.

Thomas VanRee started the business in 1995 in a garage behind his home. Today, Legacy is situated on two industrial acres and operates out of a 6,000-square-foot facility in Grandville, Michigan, in the greater Grand Rapids region. The shop currently employs 13 people, including two apprentices who, when not in class at Grand Rapids Community College, are each working their ways through all areas of the shop. Each apprentice spends two weeks in each department to learn its importance and how all the departments connect together. Thomas’ son Tyler, the company’s vice president, says this teaching strategy also helps apprentices discover their true skill sets so that they can further sharpen them, plus it gives them added confidence in their abilities.

In addition to a DMG DMU 50 high-speed five-axis CNC machine, a FANUC C600 RoboCut EDM and FCS work-holding, Legacy utilizes an OKK VP-600 high-speed machining center, a Makino SNC-64 high-speed milling machine equipped with a 100-station Erowa ERC robot, and other vertical machines. Other EDM equipment includes a Sodick AG60L, and a Charmilles Roboform 400 and HD20.

Legacy is active within the American Mold Builders Association and the Michigan Tooling Group. Both organizations offer opportunities for networking and collaboration, not to mention benchmarking tools and data, shop tours, resources for apprentices, and more.