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Have any of you done a Titan metal injection molding project? Can you give me a lead?

implmex

Titanium
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Vancouver BC Canada
Good morning All:
I have a customer for whom I designed and prototyped a bunch of parts that are perfect for metal injection molding, going into production.
It's a dental project, and the ideal material is titanium, either CP2 or Ti6Al4V.
The problem is we cannot find a titanium MIM molder that will take this on without demanding the best part of a half million bucks for engineering fees and mold builds etc etc.

I can build a proper production quality MIM mold with interchangeable inserts for about 20 grand (I'd be stealing an existing mold and re-purposing it, and no it would not be a kludge mold).
This is a low tolerance dirt simple set of parts but nobody I can find, wants to even entertain doing these parts without making it into a major 3 ring circus.
All we want to do is prove out the process and test the market...we're talking about maybe a grand total of 20,000 parts (5 different parts at 4000 units of each).

Direct metal laser sintering these is about 60 bucks apiece which brings us to 120 grand...far more than is reasonable for what we want to do.

Do any of you have a source for titanium MIM I can contact?
Preferably a smaller vendor who will not reject a shoestring approach out of hand?
Any leads will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Marcus
Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

Edit: It was supposed to read "a Titanium" metal injection molding project...my apologies.
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
There was a company in Corry, pa I was told they made the cases for "Swatches" using MIM.

I cannot find them anymore, but search google maps in nearby "st. Mary's pa"
it appears some of the existing powdered metal molders are moving into MIM.

Also, the Penn State Behrend campus (in Erie) does allot of plastic molding experimentation & research,
and I think MIM was developed/optimized there.

A e-mail to that department might prove fruitfull
 

Zahnrad Kopf

Diamond
Joined
Apr 5, 2010
Location
Tropic of Milwaukee
Marcus,

First, I apologize for not returning your email more quickly. It's been a barn burner, here. Will do so soon.

Second, this is fairly normal for the North American market, unfortunately. Back when I worked at MegaCorp®, I encountered this as well. I will have to dig through one of my old notebooks to see who it was, but we did find someone to do what you desire. Ironically, it was one of the main Powdered Metal manufacturers, themselves. DD's note about Pennsylvania is ringing a bell, hard. I'll try to find it for you, tonight. Hopefully, someone will chime in with the name soon. Otherwise, sad to say, but most of the places that were willing to do it were in china. MegaCorp© used to pay around $20K for the shoot, if I recall correctly. ( been a number of years, though )

Glad to hear that your project went forward! Congrats!
 

TDegenhart

Diamond
Joined
Mar 26, 2011
Location
Geneva Illinois USA
If you can build the mold, you wouldn't be the first shop to go into a production shop. Mold builder has to try out the molds on a press, so now that you have the press, might as well shoot a few more. Bingo! A new business is born.

Tom
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
Metal Injection molding is not die casting, but I could be mistaken.....
I had to look it up. It was invented in the 1970's, long after I was in school, and makes parts too small for the industry where I was employed. It uses powdered metal and does not involve melting of the metal. It sounds straightforward except for how the high degree of shrinkage is figured into the mold design.

Metal injection molding - Wikipedia

Larry
 

azmachining

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Location
Central Valley, AZ
The process is similar, but higher melting point metals for MIM it looks like. I would still look up die casting, you might get more leads that way. I didn't know they called it MIM, I always thought metal injection molding was die casting.
 

L Vanice

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
The process is similar, but higher melting point metals for MIM it looks like. I would still look up die casting, you might get more leads that way. I didn't know they called it MIM, I always thought metal injection molding was die casting.

Die casting is pushing (under pressure) melted metal into a die, hence the word "casting." No powdered metal, binder, debinding or densification involved.

When a new process is invented, a new name has to be coined. Has to be new and descriptive, but apparently does not have to be crystal clear or unambiguous.

Larry
 

implmex

Titanium
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Vancouver BC Canada
Hi All:
For those who are unfamiliar with the process, here is a synopsis of MIM:
Metal powder is mixed into a plastic or wax binder and processed into pellets.
The aggregate is molded in an injection mold using a conventional injection molding press as if it were plastic.
The binder is removed leaving a "brown" part.
The part is sintered in a vacuum or inert atmosphere oven at ambient pressure to coalesce the metal particles.

It differs from die casting in which molten metal is forced into a permanent mold under pressure.
It differs from permanent mold casting in which molten metal is poured into a permanent mold using only gravity
It differs from conventional powder metal processing in that there is no compression during sintering and there is a binder to carry the metal particles into the mold.

MIM is a high volume process used a lot for medical devices, orthodontic brackets and small gun parts like scope mounts, triggers, sears etc etc.

It makes a cheaper part than investment casting, it can use a wider variety of alloys than die casting, and it can make stronger and more complex parts than pressing and sintering.

Cheers

Marcus
Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
 

BoxcarPete

Stainless
Joined
Nov 30, 2018
Location
Michigan, USA
Wow. Blows my mind that one can take a part that's up to 40% wax, remove the wax to make it porous, then uniformly shrink it into a solid just by heat. How does that end up as anything other than a messy lump of formerly powdered metal?
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Wow. Blows my mind that one can take a part that's up to 40% wax, remove the wax to make it porous, then uniformly shrink it into a solid just by heat. How does that end up as anything other than a messy lump of formerly powdered metal?

I was told that the "swatch" part was molded in a standard plastic press
(there are many plastic molding companies around here) and then a ride in a boat thru a sintering oven.
I was also told that they were holding .001 on some dimensions.

It's very similar to powdered metal in the shrinkage & sintering parts, that's
why it's growing in the St. Mary's area.
 

TKassoc

Cast Iron
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Location
Oakland, CA
MIM is way more involved than than just the mold design. The setting fixtures for bake out can be more involved than mold itself.

Direct metal laser sintering these is about 60 bucks apiece which brings us to 120 grand...far more than is reasonable for what we want to do.

At your low quantity I would bypass DLMS and MIM for binder jet 3D printing. It's basically low resolution MIM without the mold cost. Try these guys ExOne --> https://www.exone.com/en-US/3D-printing-systems/metal-3d-printers/Innovent or look for someone who has one of the new HP printers.
 

azmachining

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Location
Central Valley, AZ
If your quantities are low enough TKassoc sounds right. I know a guy who does dental implants and he 3D prints titanium implants and medical parts, but mostly for prototype. I know he outsources most of the production to asia.
 








 
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