Typically, thermoforming molds have protruded, or convex surfaces, and are referred to as male, or positive, molds; or they have concave, cavity surfaces, and are referred to as female, or negative, molds. Molds can be further defined as being single cavity or 'one-up' molds for single or short run production, and multiple cavity, and or 'family' molds for volume production. Family molds are multiple cavity molds used to produce more than one part design simultaneously from a single sheet of plastic stock.
Thermoforming molds for short run production or prototype work use molds made of wood, plastic, epoxy, or other relatively inexpensive material. These molds are not temperature controlled. High production thermoforming molds are always made of aluminum because of its lightweight, machine ability, and high thermal conductivity. Aluminum molds contain channels through which water, the primary cooling medium, is pumped. Cooling rate and temperature control affect the shrinkage and other attributes of the thermoformed part.
To achieve part detail, molds must also be able to evacuate all air trapped between the plastic and mold surfaces. This is done by providing small vent holes at specific locations within the thermoforming mold and using vacuum to draw out the trapped air.
At METHOD we offer six types of mold options, these include:
MDF, Hardwood, Plastic, Fiberglass, Cast Aluminum (water controlled or non-water controlled) and machined solid billet aluminum (water controlled and non-water controlled).
For more information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Reference: Society of Manufacturing Services