A $1,500 hand-operated, bench-model plastic injection machine funded via Kickstarter can be used to mold small, quality, plastic parts inexpensively, on demand. Shown here is the prototype with the basic manual (screw tightening) mold vise that comes standard with the machine, for prototyping or lower-volume production. (Source: LNS Technologies)
Since 1968 Morgan Plastic has made handy little presses for engineers and small manufacturers. See: http://www.morganindustriesinc.com/ You can buy them on the used market for little money. For years we used parts from these presses when large production was impossible.
Thanks, Al. This made me think of a Gadget Freak article in reverse: what would happen if one of our many innovative, creative Gadget Freak inventors had gone ahead and commercialized his/her invention and sold it? I've noticed reader requests for exactly that on some Gadget Freak comment boards.
Do you remember when you were a kid; there were two examples of modern industry at the Zoo? One was the little coining press that took your copper penny and rolled it into a coined medallion; the other was micro injection press that molded a little bear as a souvenir in front of the Polar Bear house. For a Quarter, you watched a little mold-press produce your bear. I still remember the smell of molten polycarbonate I smelled for the very first time.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.