DIY Injection Molding Machine Built From Cheap Pneumatic Press

[Kurt Schaefer] watched YouTube videos of people making molds for injection molding purposes using what he considered the toy 3018 CNC machines, and looking at the results decided he needed some of the action. However, once you have molds, the next obvious problem to address is the lack of access to an injection molding machine. But those things are expensive. Coincidentally, you can get a nice pneumatic press for under $350, and with a little more money, [Kurt] found he could convert it into a functional injection molding machine (video, embedded below) and get some decent results out of it.

After ordering the press on eBay, what eventually arrived was quite a mess, clearly underpacked for its weight and having suffered some damage in transit. Nevertheless, it seemed that the functional parts were okay, so [Kurt] decided to continue building. The first obvious change is the requirement of a heated chamber to process the starting material. Using a standard Buster Beagle 3D injection molding chamber, only a few spacers and a support bracket were needed to complete the mechanics. An ordinary PID controller available from the usual suppliers, with some heat tapes wrapped around the chamber, met the injection temperature requirements and some 3D printed housings wrapped it all up neatly.

After some initial wobbling and a few hacks to the design, [Kurt] got some pretty good results from this simple setup, and it seems to be quite tunable and repeatable, which will help maintain the quality of those results. In short, a neat hack of easily available parts, and perhaps a welcome addition to a hackerspace near you?

3D printed parts are available on the Thingiverse page, as well as a Fusion360 CAD model. The shopping list for parts can be found in the video description, if you want to copy this.

We’ve seen a few DIY injection molding attempts over the years, like this slick plastic molding setup. Here’s one with 3D printed molds, and if you just need something in the right shape, you can just injection mold it with a hot glue.

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