April 2008 Design Tip

Design Guidelines for Bigger Parts

With Protomold's expanded capability to produce larger parts, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind when designing parts to fit the Protomold process.

For starters, our current increased size capabilities are as follows:

  • Maximum part outline is approximately 774.7mm by 342.9 mm (the maximum outline applies only to shallower parts).
  • Increasing part depth reduces maximum outline. At 25.4 mm depth, maximum outline is 723.9 x 292.1; at 50.8 mm depth maximum outline is 673.1 x 241.3; at 76.2 mm depth, maximum outline is 622.3 x 190.5. Why is this? It's because plastic is injected at pressures as high as 1,000 Bar, and we need enough mould material surrounding a deeper part to keep the mould sides from bending out.
  • Outline notwithstanding, maximum projected mould area is 50,000 square mm.
  • Maximum part volume is approximately 360,000 cubic mm.
  • Maximum mould depth either side of the parting line is 76.2 mm, which means a part can be up to 152.4 mm tall if the parting line passes through the middle of the part (inside and out).
  • Parts should have approximately 1° of draft per 25.4 mm of depth from parting line. Minimum draft, regardless of depth, is ½°. This allows the part to eject from the mould without drag marks.
  • Side action cams consume space, reducing maximum mould size.
  • To see how these limitations specifically affect your part, upload a 3D CAD model for a free ProtoQuote® mouldability analysis and quote.

Recommended wall thickness varies by resin, but larger parts should have thicker walls. Large parts should have walls at or near the manufacturer's maximum recommended thickness for the specific resin as listed in the chart below (the chart applies to all parts, not just larger parts).

Resin

Recommended Wall
Thickness (mm)

ABS

1.143 - 3.556

Acetal

0.762 - 3.048

Acrylic

0.635 - 3.810

Liquid crystal polymer

0.762 - 3.048

Long-fiber reinforced plastics

1.905 - 25.40

Nylon

0.762 - 2.921

Polycarbonate

1.016 - 3.810

Polyester

0.635 - 3.175

Polyethylene

0.762 - 5.080

Polyphenylene sulfide

0.508 - 4.572

Polypropylene

0.635 - 3.810

Polystyrene

0.889 - 3.810

Polyurethane

2.032 - 19.05

ProtoQuote can provide feedback on the proposed wall thickness of your parts.

Other guidelines are similar to those for smaller parts:

1. Try not to mix thick and thin sections; keep wall thickness as constant as possible.

2. Radius corners to minimize flow restrictions and prevent stress concentrations (see fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Radius Corners

Fig. 1: Radius Corners

3. Avoid unsupported geometry (see fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Unsupported Geometry

Fig. 2: Unsupported Geometry

4. Use core-cavity construction rather than ribs wherever possible (see fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Core-Cavity

Fig. 3: Rib vs. Core-Cavity

For detailed guidelines, examples, and illustrations, see Protomold's Design Guidelines.