About this project
Have you ever had an idea for a cool product made of plastic? Did you try to produce it with a low-end 3D printer and became frustrated that it was too slow or the parts didn't have the quality you were expecting? Or did you find out that it would take $10,000 or more to have your product injection molded overseas? Do you dream of making production quality injection molded plastic parts right on your own bench top?
We've created an easy-to-use machine that molds high quality plastic parts at a fraction of the cost of a commercial machine. With this injector, you will be able to produce beautiful looking plastic products that anyone would be proud to sell. The plastic materials used for each part costs only pennies, plus you can even use recycled bottles & plastics to produce brand-new products.
In November of 2011, we started a home based business manufacturing and selling a low cost injection machine for molding plastic parts. Priced at only $595, the Model-20A injection molding machine was an instant success.
The Model 20A was designed for hobbyists, schools or small companies to allow anyone with a drill press to make quality plastic parts. This simple innovative machine has been purchased by hobbyists, high schools, universities and many well known corporations. Some examples of what our customers have told us they are making with our machine include: plastic toys, gears, fishing lures, optical lenses, golf tees and even medical products!
Why Do We Need Funding?
We've received many inquiries about producing a larger capacity machine. People have told us that they want to make bigger items than our Model 20A is capable of producing (for example - cell phone cases). So we have developed a prototype bench model plastic injection machine with a 1.25 cubic inch capacity. That is more that 3 times the capacity of the original model, plus it is a self-contained bench top unit that no longer requires a drill press.
Our new model is incredibly simple to operate. Just plug it in, set the temperature, add the plastic pellets, clamp the mold and pull the handle to start making your own products!
We already have a list of potential customers waiting for a larger machine. So now we need to start manufacturing and shipping this new model. We've determined that we can achieve an affordable selling price if we commit to build a production quantity of machines. That's where we need your help. Instead of continuing to machine the metal parts by hand, we are going to use the pledge funds to have the parts made by local CNC machine shops in volume.
What Makes This Machine So Unique?
There are many great plastic product ideas out there that may never get the chance to get from a napkin sketch or CAD model into production, and ultimately into the hands of an adoring public. Why not? Traditional injection molding is a plastic manufacturing operation geared for high volume production. It is a very expensive process due to the costs involved in building the mold, which makes it difficult for small start-up companies to get into this type of manufacturing. It is not unusual for the cost of a production steel mold to range from $5,000 for a simple mold, and up to $50,000 (or more!) for complex multi-cavity molds.
There has been a lot of press lately about 3D printing. 3D printing can be useful for making samples, but most low-cost printers are not yet adequate for making affordable full strength parts, high precision parts, or producing more than sample quantities. Someday 3D printers may be up to the task, but currently most plastic products being mass produced & sold in stores are being made by injection molding. Injection molding is a proven way to produce high-quality parts at a low cost.
Who Can Use an Injection Molding Machine?
So what our machine offers is a way for individuals, small businesses or even large companies to use low cost aluminum molds to produce their own prototype parts. Or they can even make moderate production runs of a custom plastic product. In addition, this machine makes it convenient to test various plastic resins and to confirm that a part can actually be molded.
Or it can be used to produce thousands of “go-to-market” parts even while the final production tools are being made. This machine is the most affordable way to test a design or to assess market demand before committing to full-scale production.
This project is also perfect in vocational education classrooms for demonstrating hands-on injection molding. Likewise, it fits in nicely with CNC machining or tool & die moldmaking programs. Newly created molds can be tested on-the-spot!
Why not start your own business with this machine? You could manufacture and sell your own line of fishing lures, action figures or the next “As Seen on TV” hot product. With this machine plus a low cost mold, you can turn all your great ideas into reality.
It Works Great and is Easy to Use!
The prototype machine has been extensively tested and we have proved to ourselves that this new model will give customers all the extra capacity they will need to produce larger high-quality plastic parts.
Above are just a few of examples of what can be molded with this bench model machine.
You can use a large variety of plastic materials with this machine. It has been tested with Acetal (Delrin™), ABS, PLA, HDPE, polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene, LDPE, TPE and EVA. Plastic milk or water containers, as well as soft drink bottles can be recycled and transformed into brand new products.
This machine works fine with low-cost aluminum molds. Home CNC users can easily mill their own molds. Or any local machine shop can make your mold, usually from just a simple sketch or a CAD file. We have even successfully injected parts using an epoxy mold with a support frame. The yellow fish in the photo above was reproduced using an epoxy mold.
Unleash your creativity with this machine and email us photos of your creations. We plan to create a users group webpage and post our favorite submissions!
Your machine will come with a 28 page instruction manual. It covers in detail, all aspects of operation, safety & maintenance. In addition, it includes warranty information plus extensive details about all the various plastic materials that can be used with this machine.
Our website www.techkits.com/pim currently offers a variety of low cost pre-made molds plus a wide assortment of plastic pellets for use with this machine. It also provides information and sources for having molds made to your custom design. We will be adding more support products and information in the future (like the quick-release toggle vise shown below).
More to Come
If you help us achieve our goal, there are other related products that we plan to offer. The next product we are working on is a quick-release toggle vise. The toggle clamp vise can speed up the molding process. Using the toggle vise, we have been able to produce up to 180 parts per hour in our tests.
Our bench machine prototype operates on 110-120 VAC only, so it’s not suitable for countries that use 220-240 VAC. Plus it weighs over 45 lbs, so it will be shipped via UPS Ground in a wood crate. Due to both of these realities, it is only practical for us to offer this product to US backers only! So please do not make the $1,500 or $1,800 pledge for a machine unless you have a shipping address in the continental USA.
This machine is fun to operate, but it is NOT A TOY. You should not allow children or untrained persons to operate this unit.
Note: A quick-release toggle vise is shown in the video and in some of the photos above of the injection machine. If this project is successfully funded, the machines shipped to qualified backers will include a manual vise and not the toggle vise shown in the video. The toggle vise is a future product that we plan to eventually offer for sale as an optional accessory to the basic injection machine.
Risks and challenges
LNS Technologies is not a brand-new startup venture. We already have a website (www.techkits.com/pim) and hundreds of satisfied customers.
We have manufactured, sold and shipped lots of the original Model 20A plastic injectors, so we already have an excellent track record of delivering a quality product. This new bench model uses a similar barrel design, heater and temperature controller and is only slightly more complex to assemble. Therefore, we don’t expect any surprises.
We have already received quotes on having the parts machined by local shops, so we are confident that the target sales price can be met. We have confirmed that all parts are available in the quantities we will need to meet the delivery schedules.
We are prepared to hire additional part-time help if the demand is great.
Our only challenge should be assembling and shipping them fast enough!
If you have a unique item that you want to produce, then you will need a custom mold. A big advantage is that expensive steel molds are not required with this machine. Aluminum molds or even epoxy molds work fine.
We use a local company: Herrmann Engineering (http://www.g-codesource.com/Services_and_Ads.html)
They both design molds (often from a simple sketch) and then fabricate them using CNC equipment. Their prices to design and fabricate a mold typically start at $500, but you should contact them for an exact quote. Or any local machine shop should be able to make a mold for this machine.
The 28 page manual that will ship with our Model 150A machine contains specifications and details for producing compatible molds.
Some of the customers that purchased our Model 20A machine make their own aluminum molds with home CNC equipment or by pouring an epoxy mold.
We are very grateful for the support and many kind messages from the kickstarter community! Because we have received several requests about obtaining a mold with this machine, we are going to make this additional offer: For the first group of twenty $1,500 backers, we will include a FREE sample mold and plastic pellets. This means you can start using the machine as soon as it arrives!
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