Making a professional-grade mold tooling design in CATIA is one of the harder undertakings that you might experience. Molds are impossibly hard to design, and there are so many industry-specific tips that you need to know before you even start. Many companies don’t have the time or resources to waste on this learning curve, so they turn to outsourcing their mold design.
In this guide, we’ll explain the full process. More specifically, we’ll tell you how you can get the best mold tooling designs in CATIA — hint: it’s only possible by outsourcing with molding experts.
A Mold Tooling Design Is Harder Than You Might Think
If you’ve never designed mold tooling before, you’re in for a surprise once you get started. The injection molding process (and designing tooling for it) seems a lot easier than it really is. In reality, the process is a tricky balance of pressure, temperature, and expert-level mold designs.
If the mold cavity is off by just a little bit or a small issue was overlooked, the whole mold might not work. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain, and months of machining that you won’t get back. Is it worth the risk?
Truthfully, mold tooling design is very tricky.
It Takes a Lot of Experience
There are plenty of industries where you can use your best judgment and put together a design that works. Brackets and support structures can be designed with no background information — however, the same is not true for mold tooling.
The design takes a lot of experience to do correctly. Something as subtle as adding a 0.5° angle can make or break your design, and that’s no exaggeration.
Expert mold designers have to go through months of training and years of trial and error before they can perfect their craft and make mold designs look simple. If your staff doesn’t have that level of experience, then you’ll definitely need to outsource this.
The Fabrication Is Expensive, So You Want to Avoid Mistakes
It’s very common for mold tooling to cost over $100,000 and take more than a month to fabricate. That’s assuming that the design was perfect, and the machinist didn’t run into any issues.
If your mold design is wrong, there’s nothing the machinist can do. Unless it’s a very small change that they can re-machine and correct, then the shop will have to start from scratch. This includes sending another bill for the same amount, and taking another month to create the replacement mold.
Just like that, your budget and timeline are out the window. We’ve seen this happen a lot in different industries, and it’s unfortunately a huge mistake that can be avoided by sticking with professionals.
There Are So Many Things to Remember
The simple way to explain mold tooling design in CATIA is that there are a lot of things to remember and consider. We mentioned the tiny 0.5° draft angle, but you also have to think about hole diameters, corners of your parts, and the total thickness of each wall.
It’s common for a single mold design to take weeks and get peer-reviewed by multiple different engineers before the design is approved and finalized.
CATIA Is Just as Tricky to Master
The other piece of the puzzle is the CAD program you use. As a professional CAD outsourcing company, we like to make our CAD models in whatever CAD software you’re most familiar with. Many companies choose CATIA, so we make sure our staff is fully trained on using CATIA.
With that said, CATIA isn’t the easiest or most user-friendly software on the market. It’s actually one of the hardest ones to learn, and it’s even harder to become an expert in.
To create a high-quality mold design, you need a ton of experience in CATIA to understand how to do surface modeling and keep the dimensions perfect.
If you try to tackle this design on your own, you’ll have to start by going through the steep CATIA learning curve.
What Is an Outsourced CATIA Mold Design?
If you want to avoid the headaches we just described, there’s a simple solution: outsourcing your CATIA mold design. With outsourcing, you leave the design and modeling work in the hands of an experienced CAD company like CAD/CAM Services.
You would tell us all of your project specifics, then it would be our duty to create a manufacturable 3D model of your mold tooling.
An image showing an injection-molded part being removed from the cavity and compared to the reverse-engineered unit.
Why You Should Outsource Your CATIA Mold Tooling Design
Why should you outsource your CATIA mold tooling design to CAD/CAM Services? There are a ton of benefits, which we’ll describe now:
Access a Team of Experts
The bottom line is that our team is filled with mold tooling design experts. We have people on our staff who have designed hundreds of molds on their own. They know all the tips and tricks that it takes to create expert-level molds that actually work.
When you tap into a network of experts, the results will speak for themselves.
Get Faster, More Reliable Results
Since our staff knows everything about mold tooling design, you can rest assured that you’re going to get faster, more reliable results. What might take a rookie designer a month to design can be done within a week by our guys.
Of course, we always like to go through a peer-review process to make sure the mold design is perfect before sending you the final part. Still, the whole process will be streamlined when you outsource your mold design.
Plus, our results are more reliable since we have so much more experience. That means that you can hire us to make a dozen different molds, and all of them will work perfectly.
Perform Concurrent Design Steps
We know that any time mold designs are involved, it’s part of a bigger project. You’re likely facing a huge injection molding project, and this is just one of a dozen different steps that you need to work through.
By outsourcing the physical design, your team can focus on other parts of the injection molding project. For example, you can start searching for injection molding shops, a machinist to fabricate the mold, a supplier for the raw plastic, and materials studies to find the perfect plastic option.
While you’re doing all of those steps, we’ll handle the mold design, effectively cutting your timeline in half.
Reduce Manufacturing Costs for Your Tooling
Another hidden cost benefit of working with CAD/CAM Services is that you’ll likely face lower manufacturing costs for the tooling. How is that possible? Well, we have a deep understanding of how the mold will be machined, and how the injection molding process will work.
With our knowledge, we’ll add features or remove complexities that would drive up the cost of machining and long-term injection molding. A simple change on our end can easily save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.
That’s the beauty of designing for manufacturing when you have a deep understanding of how the mold will be made.
An injection molding machine releases a unit and prepares for the next shot.
We’re Experienced in Every CAD Program
Most people choose CATIA for their mold tooling design, but our team has experience in every major CAD program on the market. That means that we’ll deliver CAD files that you can actually use — no need to convert files and struggle with missing information between conversion steps.
Making a high-quality mold tooling design that works the first time is a lot easier said than done. Skip all the headaches and outsource this work to our experts at CAD/CAM Services. We have the expertise and manpower to tackle the most difficult mold design without any problems. Start saving time and money today, and get a free quote.
This article was last Updated on September 5, 2023