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Mould Design Community, what if…???


This topic contains 122 replies, has 39 voices, and was last updated by  Gustavo Merckel 2 months ago.

Dario Zanon dzspain

Mould Design Community, what if…???

10/05/2016 at 12:16

Hi everyone! I’m absolutely excited with the idea, it’s a great one and with a big set of tools to go on but I just find a “weak point” about all this stuff when we pretend to recycle and reuse the plastic on Dave’s machines… MOULDS!

There is nothing to do with an extruder machine without a mould… so I’m wondering how can it be fixed and it is not a simple matter.

The first “pain point” is about mould design. It is not only a matter of shape but also a question of architecture as the final product should be “nice and useful (durable)” so I want to invite everyone on a discussion about “design inteligence”. My point of view is that the “designers knowledge” should be implemented on the project and maybe to create a “Plastic’s Design Market” where any producer could buy or borrow a plastic mould design to made.

On the other hand, once there’s a mould to be made, we should talk about aluminium recycling for greensand casting or CNC milling; so there’s a need about aluminium casting techics, technical knowledge and technical skills to provide.. but also CNC machines building, stepper motors control and CNC software for mould designs making.

I think that it could be great if we find the way to merge design knowledge, mould design libraries and a mould makers list to give this project a “ready to go” state.

About mould casting, I would like to advice about how useful and efficient could be a “mould makers network”, as it is needed various requirements to produce quality moulds for long lasting use and production such as machinery, knowledge, space, and so on… maybe to arrange a regional clustering could be a must in order to maximize start-up speed and reduce production expenses to someone’s project.

Do you want to join the discussion?

Thank’s for your attention 🙂

Edit, Moved to PreciousPlastic forum

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14/10/2016 at 00:31

Update – @paulaortega and I had a successful injection into a plywood mould, but unsurprisingly you can’t get the plastic brick (PLA) out once it has hardened, even with lubricant beforehand. Whether draft angles on the mould would have helped enough I’m not sure.

We also injected into heat resistant silicone wrapped in plaster bandage. This was successful until the mould exploded at a weak point and sprayed molten PLA all over my (plastic) workshop door! It aint coming off.

More experiments to follow with sturdier, solid plaster moulds to be sure, especially after seeing @andresornelas‘ successes.

Also found a small casting company nearby so may look into getting aluminium moulds made up too..


27/09/2016 at 18:28

@uaneme let’s call it replicate 😉
Pirate sounds as if we were doing something wrong, and we are just trying to save the world 😀

27/09/2016 at 17:13

@xxxolivierxxx and @andresornelas

great to see how well plaster works!!!

Looks like a great way to pirate some existing plastic objects. 🙂

If a plastic object is broken, copy the broken part in a plaster mould, and replace the broken part with something more colorful.

09/07/2016 at 13:03

Brilliant comment @uaneme! I’m full agree with you. Technology is everywhere and it can be useful with the appropriate software. You’re on the right path. Congratulations for your wiki work too!

Here is my little furnace… still need to remove the inner mold and I just get that must had to remove when it was still wet… if someone tries to do it, don’t let it dry before remove the interior mold!

07/07/2016 at 20:16

@winbidtm I’m glad you asked this question!

Operating Systems like Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, (and many others) you can download (at no cost) and burn on a CD, or flash on a USB stick. So it is still a good option to install a fresh (and fully supported) OS, without malware, that is much lighter on the CPU then windows.

I know for instance a guy who immigrated to Kampala, and over there he installs Ubuntu on older PC’s that struggle with windows (Windows7 is way to heavy for older hardware) So in third world countries PC’s actually exist. And people know how to delete outdated XP, and install something thats a bit more up to date.

And true, it’s not mainstream… And they have no broadband.

But there are Internet cafe’s, USB sticks, CD’s, DVD’s, Android phones with filesharing apps. Those people can get files from the net. But they don’t have Autocad, and if they do have autocad, then the pc is most likely far below spec.
And Autocad probably not as a legal copy. So that tthen already pot’s them in a dangerous position with the law. Corrupt law enforcers are also common in those area’s. So it’s better to be one step ahead.

Those people should find Precious Plastic without too much trouble. We should try to let them know. I emailed the guy in Kampala. And he told his friends about it. Not sure if anyone is on the case yet but i know the word is out. So if you any of us knows someone who may be near a large source of plastic then just say hello and email a link and a few images from here. 😉

Web based Cad apps do only make sense if there is a RELIABLE broadband connection. In Kampala this would not be an option anytime soon.
Also a site like this should hav a low bandwidth version that does not pre-load all the pictures. Just to be more user friendly for people on slow connections. @davehakkens Please consider some option like that!

I have seen thinkerCAD on youtube, but unfortunately it does not woth on any of the Linux machines i have tried so far. (Probably proprietary webGL issues? not sure though..) So then those people need expensive Windows or Apple boxes. So that puts them also at risk of being robbed. (yet another thing that happens in those places)

On the other hand, if there is a library, or internet cafe with reliable connectivity then why not use tinkercad. But then comes the question: Are tinkercad files compatible with other applications and viceversa?

They should still be able to open the files even when there is no internet. (Can tinkercad do this at all?) So personally I would avoid online CAD apps at any cost, since i know how horrible the connectivity is down there. A simple chat program already has enough trouble to send a few words back and forth. 🙂

I’ll add tinkercad to the wiki, (unless someone already done so…)
I’ll put online CAD apps in a separate table. With a few pro’s and cons.

There’s new online CAD app that seems to be very user friendly, 3D shape? shape …something, can’t remember the name, i’ll have to look it up.

Hmm another thing with online CAD apps, you need to rely on others, Library needs to be open (no late nite cad work), there need to be a free table etc.. and when you go home, then there is no way to make a few small changes.

But yea, it is an option that doesn’t need a big budget.


19/06/2016 at 14:39


Do you have a makerspace/hackspace near you? https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/Australia

They may have a CNC machine that can make the mould. Do you make the patterns for your silicone moulds by hand? If you can digitise it, even on a scanner, it will be simple to make a metal mould from a computer file.

For the amount of plastic you need to fill these, could you get by with just scissors instead of a shredder? I suppose it depends how many you plan on making!

19/06/2016 at 02:59

Hi Everyone!

I’m a contemporary jeweller from Australia!
I am starting to build these machines because I want to switch all of the plastic in my work to recycled plastic. I currently pour resin into custom made silicone moulds.

I have attached a photo of the current work I make using non-recycled plastic and the moulds I make. I was wondering if anyone could advise me on the best machine to build to mould this plastic and any advice on how to make moulds? The pieces are flat about 3 mm in height, so I have simply moulded my shapes in silicone.

Any advice you have on how to make moulds for these machines would be great help. I was thinking – would it be as simple as placing the shredded plastic into the silicone mould and putting in the oven? It is difficult because I have no access to the machines to experiment – so I would love some insight and ideas / experiences before I start to build the machines.

Thank-you! I’m very excited to work with recycled plastic.

19/06/2016 at 01:21

I can do any CAD work thats needed. I am not in a position to build anything right now (no workshop space) but that will change in a few months. Until then I cant experiment and see what issues need to be modified or worked on.

In light of the video I posted, I can already see some improvements to be made to the design but without having played with it myself I dont want to fix what might not need fixing though.

So if you need something done in CAD talk to me about it and I can work on it when there is no paid work for me to do.

From my perspective this machine will need to produce decent products or its not really worth doing, no point recycling plastic into blobs no matter what country you live in, so I think it needs to be able to produce good products in an economical way.

18/06/2016 at 12:36

Hi you all! @richoz27, @paulaortega, @davehakkens, @winbidtm, @birdynamnam, @timslab, @n-w-b, @redgurrillia, @paulenglish… still there?

Great job, @robksawyer. I’ll sign-up myself as soon as I have something to add.

@uaneme, I didn’t notice that great idea of “masters of the plastic verse” It sound really nice as a concept.

Sorry for my delay answering but I’m involved in some training that catched all my free time lately.

About machine sizes, I think that it could be just great to have little domestic shredders as there is garbage disposers to make anyone able to collect the plastic waste. It coud be great to add a plastic identification sensor like this ones at ApNotes to clasify and package them.

So every one will be able to collect separately each kind of plastic to reuse in the local plastics workshop. For instance

15/06/2016 at 22:27


The Precious Plastic Wiki is very much a single effort on my part to consolidate and organize the information in the forums. Note: I like forums for conversation and collecting spontaneous ideas, but I find them hard to navigate when it comes to finding specific information.

As for the link to the forum from preciousplastic.com, I agree. It was difficult for me to find the forum and I consistently have issues trying to re-find it. +1

Can you tell me what kind of error you received when you tried to sign up? I’ve been upgrading and adding some new extensions and templates lately. It may have been when an update occurred.

I just realized that I had editing and account creation turned off in the settings. Duh. This has been updated. You can now create and edit items on the wiki.

15/06/2016 at 04:28

Is the url to the wiki already published at the precious plastic website?

Also it might be good to have a link from preciousplastic.com direct to this forum. people might not realise that this is here. Since there is no forum on there.

I just tried to sign up at media wiki but cant sign in yet.. will try again tomorrow

15/06/2016 at 01:54

Good job @robksawyer! Congratulations!

14/06/2016 at 02:30

@uaneme Added FreeCAD to the wiki. Thanks! Feel free to create an account and start editing.

Everyone should have the ability to add and edit items there. That’s the reason I started it. Let’s consolidate and organize the ideas from the forums there.

I’m currently trying to figure out more details related to motors (which work best) for the extrusion machine. And I could use your help. There’s now a table on the extrusion machine page in the wiki just for collecting these.

Ping [email protected] if you have any issues.

12/06/2016 at 22:59

WOW this threat has exploded!! Niiice. 🙂

i see, unfortunately FreeCAD is not fully production ready yet BUT to me is seems the best option at this point. I’m not a CAD designer, but if i can get around with it then someone with deeper CAD knowledge should pretty much be able to use it. And sure AutoCAD will have more nifty features (that only hardcore designers know how to use) Not sure what the system requirements are for AutoCAD
But FreeCAD has very modest hardware needs, I used it on a Intel Atom Netbook (Acer Aspire One) from 10 years back.

Exporting in STEP seems to be the most compatible. I guess AutoCAD can open STEP?

FreeCAD runs on most Operating Systems Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint), Apple and Windows. And a bit of a learning curve can be expected.

@dzspain I fully agree with 1st world being the biggest pollution factor
But when viewing Daves video’s then I see that the 3rd world needs the most technology to clean up the mess that our 1st world dumped on them.

So if possible we should think along and share our ideas and technology as easy as possible. And yes all the mess that we can avoid to be dumped is also essential. So if we can combine all forces then we all become ‘masters of the plastic verse’ Actually i think we could learn a thing or two from 3rd world creativity and inventivity. To use lower tech solutions. So i hope dave has his camera ready when there are low tech solutions are in sight. . 🙂 Like the DIY welding he filmed. 😀

@richoz27 Thanks for that video!!

@paulaortega *Thumbs UP!*

@robksawyer Don’t forget to try FreeCAD and add it to the wiki (if you deem it to be good enough)

12/06/2016 at 07:19

Great thought @winbidtm! You’re absolutely right!
“the simpler the system the more it will be adopted any where in the world.”

12/06/2016 at 00:43


Looking forward to see the results of this, please keep us posted!

11/06/2016 at 22:23

When using tinkercad I export .step or .stl from memory (posting from phone).

Maybe think of the most thermally conductive materials then think about their suitability for use in a mould.

Rather than thinking 1st or 3rd world, perhaps we should think that the simpler the system the more it will be adopted any where in the world.


09/08/2020 at 20:22

I have had the same discussion for years!!! But I think more and more people are making molds, so I hope the prices get down, so the complexity.  In Mexico we are looking for alternatives, for example we use the inyection machine to melt the plastic and the use a press https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0LP8aTaj_0&t=92s

Saludos desde México

06/06/2019 at 12:45

This is a great thread! I am currently experimenting with mouldmaking options involving lost wax casting of aluminium, cast plaster, or hand machined aluminium.
My addition to the thread, in relation to posts higher up about CAD design of moulds, is that I’ve found STEP files to be the most commonly used especially for 3D printing. I’m a Sketchup user, but the free version doesn’t allow export of STEP files only COLLADA files; but I’ve found that online convertors work fine to translate a COLLADA file into a STEP file you can download. I have sent these to Meshlabs.com for printing and they work fine, you just have to be careful that your units are correctly set to inches or mm so that your print comes out to scale.

07/07/2018 at 10:50


Hi there,
We did some coke can plastic melting test. The results described in our topic here.
If you just scroll to Weekly update number 11 you’ll see the result for just taking a can and filling it with PP and placing in an oven. This could definitely be machined to meet the product design specs (and also cheap and easy to make)

20/05/2018 at 04:22

Originally i went out in search for a descent size heat sink for a mould similar to https://davehakkens.nl/community/forums/topic/molds-from-the-scrapyard/ but unable to find one the size i wanted at a few scrap yards, i headed to the local aluminum store to buy new =( .. at the store i found a bin full of off cuts for cheap, so i picked up a few different i beams and a few flat pieces ($15USD’ish)

Back at home i easily cut the aluminum down to size with a saw, and with a few welders clamps ($2USD each) i had myself a mould to make small beams..

if you have any questions check out my forum post..

4x dvd cases

11/02/2018 at 06:05

I’ve been investigating this process specifically.

07/02/2018 at 01:54

@dbougas got a little delay but I actually got the materials to do it yesterday . I will try this week. Keep you posted 😉

02/02/2018 at 00:07

@jegor-m I think its used for a way to quickly protype an idea. It’s used more in a workflow than to produce things.

01/02/2018 at 23:35

@plastikfantastik, a vacuum former is indeed easy to make, but why would anyone make one?
What type of useful product could it make?

I’m just trying to come up with some cool ideas and have had no luck yet.

09/01/2018 at 13:57


Would love to see this, please post the results and video – even if it’s not a success, maybe others can learn from any mistakes.

09/01/2018 at 13:29

Ok this topic got me exited… I don’t have a shredder, i don’t have any of the machines but I have my kitchen hoven (wich will do the job).

So next week i’m gonna try to remake a iPhone case in HDPE based on a cheap silicon mold. I ll make a video to document my experience.

If anyone as some advice feel free to share it (I already look up on youtube).

Keep you updated. 😉

31/12/2017 at 10:52

I’d like to get help with a clipboard, rule, and pencil case to help kids with school supplies. Household items would be cool too.

27/09/2016 at 20:16

@xxxolivierxxx Thats the whole thing, the ones who came up with the term piracy never understood dat the original is not stolen. The original owner still has the original. And the copy may eventually be improved after finding the weak spot.

Add graphite (for strenght) and you may call it a ‘carbon’ copy.

But i used the term pirate for a different reason. Pirates live a soverein life. Offshore in no mans land. The ‘cyberspace’ from the past. In a way a free life. Some of them behaved bad, but for every bad person a good one needs to exist. (natural balance) We can’t help it that history books only remember the bad people.

OK enough of my plastic philosophy… 😀 Lets save this planet

25/09/2016 at 20:43

@xxxolivierxxx Thanks for the cross-post

@dzspain Thanks! I’m glad our work is helping others. Huge shoutout to my brother @nachonaranjas who’s been hard at work to get our machines going!

@n-w-b I’m having issues creating an account in the wiki, but I’ll definitely post an article about our molding techniques once that’s sorted out. I’ve emailed [email protected] for help…

In the mean time, see the info in our topic and feel free to ask questions there! We’ll post some more details and photos there soon.

Injection Molding Tests

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