There are different ways to make components and tools out of any type of metal alloy or for use as an industrial mold. One is to cut and shape individual pieces and then use welding processes appropriate for the aluminum grade to fix the shape.
There are two challenges with this method of fabricating a mold. The first is the amount of time it takes to not only cut out the various pieces from aluminum plate, rod or bar but then the time to weld it in place. Even with automation, this is a time-consuming process with the possibility of slight variations in the process.
The alternative to all the fabrication is to use solid aluminum block and then machine the shape from the block. This can be completed using CAD machining systems, ensuring precision and accuracy from mold to mold.
In addition, and this is very important, there are no internal seams generated by welding. This allows for sharp corners and edges and very complex shapes without any irregularities created by the welding process.
Near Net Shape
To further lower the cost of production, it is possible to choose a solid aluminum block that is in near net shape. This means it is pre-shaped to the specifications required, limiting the need for extensive machining processes once it arrives from the manufacturer.
When your company doesn’t have to extensively machine the near net shape block as it would a full solid aluminum block, shipping costs are less, additional machining costs are less and the time to use of the mold is less.
Whether you choose the solid or the near net shape aluminum block, both will offer benefits over fabrication of molds using multiple processes. Saving costs and increasing the mold life cycle will add to your profit and lower the cost of production per unit.