Tips of Whole-process 3D Mold Design with ZW3D 2012 CAD/CAM Software

By: Orchid Jin

In mold design, powerful design tools and good splitting functions are key to increasing work efficiency, thereby shortening the production cycle. ZW3D 2012 CAD/CAM Software offers both in its new !strong>mold design application permits designers to focus on mold design, and not the tools they use.
Clearer mold design workflows, more flexible splitting capabilities, and a wide variety of mold base standards and standard parts are all available in ZW3D 2012 CAD/CAM Software's mold module. It offers three toolbars that segregate functions: parting design, library, and tools. Users can very conveniently customize them with the ribbon interface.
By describing an actual case study, this article shows how mold design is accomplished with ZW3D 2012 CAD/CAM Software ( mold module.

Figure 1: Typical plastic part In ZW3D

After importing the 3D geometry into ZW3D, the first step in mold design is to perform preparatory work, such as carrying out an examination of the parts and then analyzing them, as well as determining relocation and shrinkage sets.
Many functions are available for analyzing parts. For instance, you can check the draft angle visually, as shown in figure 2 (left). The colors of faces change with the value of the angle.
Locating the part in its proper position is done using the 'Align Geometry' or 'Move' commands, as shown on the right in figure 2. Shrinkage can be determined according to the material's property.

Figure 2: Part analysis and relocation

ZW3D does not need to work with solid parts, and so designers can deal with open geometry directly. For mold designers, this is a big advantage and saves much time

Splitting is the most important step in mold design. ZW3D 2012 mold module offers more flexibility in its powerful splitting functions, which include the face region definition method and the parting line method. To indicate the directions, the core and cavity regions are displayed in different colors automatically, as show in figure 3.

Figure 3: Colors identify core and cavity regions

Some cross faces and vertical faces cannot be defined automatically, and so it provides a manual process for defining these faces. The result is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: Defining cross and vertical faces manually

With the preliminary work done, parts can now be split into cores and cavities quickly. At the same time, parting lines are generated and used to create parting faces. For complex parts, it may be more efficient to use the face region definition method, rather than the parting line method. The result of the splitting process is shown on the left of figure 5.

Figure 5: Core, cavity and parting lines

To make level parting faces by parting lines, it may be necessary to carry out some modifications. Mold module allows you to turn any line into parting line. For instance, you may need to delete some original parting lines of two small regions, and replace them by drawing two lines. (See figure 6.) The lines are then converted into parting lines using new 'Add parting lines' function.
By using either of these methods, the splitting work becomes easier even as it provides greater flexibility.

Figure 6: Converting lines into parting lines

Mold module includes tools to automate the creation of parting faces. And many surface functions also can be used along with them.
After splitting, parting faces can be created quickly, as shown in figure 7.

Figure 7: Creating parting faces

Base on the parting face, the core, and the cavity, it is then becomes easy to trim the shape into core and cavity parts, as illustrated in figure 8.

Figure 8: Trimming shape into core and cavity

The next step is to add mold bases and standard parts. Standardization is an important development in the mold industry, because costs are cut when employing standardized parts and techniques. At the same time, standards reduce mistakes, as well as the work involved in creating 2D layouts. Thus, standardization greatly shortens production cycles while decreasing the cost of production.
ZW3D 2012 mold module offers five different standard mold bases: DME, Hasco, Meusburger, OXA_Rabourdin, and LKM. All mold plates can be changed using the palette and dialog box shown in figure 9. In this example, we've chosen Hasco's standard mold base.

Figure 9: Adding mold base

To cut core and cavity pockets, there are many command available to you, including the 'Open core or cavity pocket' tool the assembly 'Cut' and 'Extrude' remove functions. The results are shown in figure 10.

Figure 10: The result of cutting core and cavity pockets

Mold module offers many standard parts, such as screws, pins, guide bushes, locating rings, and eye bolts. When a standard component is added, the pocket of the plate is cut automatically - a very important point.
Figure 11 shows in detail the results after adding several standard parts to the mold design.

Figure 11: Adding components to molds

Along with the features described above, other useful tools assist you in increasing your work efficiency. For instance, ready-sketch can used for defining the locations of components more quickly. Editing of component attributes allows designers to modify all components attributes in one table. Electrode and BOM tables can be generated quickly with tools from ZW3D.
Through this case study, we see that ZW3D 2012 mold module is a whole-process 3D mold design application. The power and flexibility of its tools make your mold design work easier and more efficient.

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ZW3D CAD/CAM Software Technical Engineer

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