Low Volume Production Plastic Parts: The comparison between Additive Manufacturing, Rapid Injection Molding and CNC Machining

The current environment for product development calls for highly customizable and ever changing products. With these needs. Multiple technologies can assist in completing these products. These technologies allow production parts to be turned around in as little as 1 day with DDM, 1 week with CNC Machining, and 1-3 weeks with Rapid tooling and injection molding.

Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM)FDM Manufacturing

Direct Digital Manufacturing (3D Printing) via additive fabrication has grown leaps and bounds from its beginning. Our FDM capabilities are able to make complex, accurate parts with production grade plastics for low volume production. These materials include: ABS, PC, ABS/PC, ULTEM and PPSF.

The advantage to DDM is that you can create production parts in as little as one day. This is great for those low volume orders where it is hard to justify tooling when you only need a small quantity of parts, but also need full functionality. The use of DDM is endless, but we have seen these uses for jigs, fixtures, customized parts, unique once only orders and many more.

Rapid Injection Molding (Rapid Tooling + Injection Molding)

Rapid Injection Molding SampleVistaTek leads the way in aluminum moldmaking for Production injection molding. We have combined our technology and highly skilled staff to provide production aluminum molds to produce rapid injection molded plastic parts in as little as two weeks.

  • Q: What separates us from our competition?

  • A: In those two weeks we can create complex molds capable of under cuts, overmolding, insert molds and highly detailed parts out of many plastic resin materials. Rapid Injection Molding is perfect for parts from 50 parts to 100,000+.

We manufacture the parts that you intended. There is no redesign to fit into our process.

VistaTek runs two shifts and has the capability on our injection molding presses to run “lights out” with the use of robotic pickers attached to the press. The quality of VistaTek’s tooling does not take a back seat to anyone. Day in and day out, our manufactured plastic parts are put into some of the most demanding industries with great success.

The materials for your plastic parts that VistaTek can run are endless. We can run our in-house materials or you can supply us with your custom material. We can run, but are not just limited to:

ABS, Polycarbonate, Nylon, Glass-filled Nylon, Acetyl, ULTEM, PEEK, Polypropylene, HDPE, LDPE, Polysulfone, etc.

CNC Machining

From milling and lathe work to grinding, CNC machining is a viable option for everything from prototypes to low-volume production. We offer many materials, including plastics and metals.

One of the many benefits of our CNC machining services is our ability to use spec material with production-quality tolerances. Once the parts are complete, programming and fixturing is saved for future jobs. This makes repeat orders easy and allows us to start low-volume production jobs quickly.

The most common materials used for CNC machining are ABS, nylon, glass-filled nylon, polycarbonate, Delrin, aluminum, steel and zinc. We are not limited to these materials.

CNC Snapshot
Strengths: spec materials/production tolerance
Quantities: 1 to low-volume production
Machine Speed: up to 40,000 RPMs
Cutters: .006" and larger

To see a comparison chart of these 3 technologies, please click here.