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Micro-molded parts, only a matter of time.


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Hello All,

After seeing the wonderful work from Taurus Models with their resin engines and actually buying one and planning for another, I wonder when we will see the first injection molded examples from someone. The technology is there and the detail possible is there also. See the pictures below. I do not want to take away from the wonderful examples we have seen to date but it is only a matter of time. After building plastic injection molds for about 20 years I am surprised micro molding has not come to our hobby as of yet. I admit I know very little about micro-molding per se but it is not a black art any more. I also don't know what the quality difference would be between plastic injection and resin. This is more a question than an answer. I imagine tooling costs might be less given the numbers of examples needed to be made to satisfy need to our hobby. Here are some examples of micro molded parts.


An assortment of parts with a scale example. Imagine the detail for engines and other components.








These examples do not even show the smallest parts possible. I believe the better model kit builders should be looking into this technology. They all make parts this small but most of them look like just blobs of plastic with true detail somewhat lacking.


Here are a couple of examples of Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts. Why not a metal engine in 1/32?






We are very lucky to have the level of technology devoted to our hobby thus far. But I believe we have not reached the pinnacle of possibility yet. It will only get better. Thanks for reading this.



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Guest styrenedemon

It's amazing how far molding has come in just the past few years. These examples are amazing and I agine we will begin to see better detail on smaller and smaller parts. That being said, I'm not so sure it's a good thing for all of us. I have a really tough time handling some of the parts we have now. I have zero dexterity apparently. But I'm really looking forward to the upcoming developments we are likely to see with all the new technology we have these days; 3D printing, micro molding, etc.

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Cees, micro-molding is almost the same as regular injection molding. But because of the smaller size of the parts, injection pressures are lower. Mold size is smaller too, obviously. I quit building molds back in 2000 but at that time we were making some pretty small parts with standard technology, nothing like those though. Our specialty was thin walled parts, .5 mm to 1mm in thickness. I'm sure you see some pretty small and thin parts in the kits we build now. Tamiya is getting really good at it with their new kits. WNW is doing some pretty phenominal stuff too with the long thin parts like hoses in scale. Long, thin parts are hard to fill and when you see them on the same sprues with larger parts, that is a very good job of balancing runner size and gate size. Current model kit molding is not meant to be functional in the sense that assemblies will actually work. At least not for long. Some of those part above, like gears and stuff, are meant to function as good as other, larger machinery. Imagine an insulin pump the size of a small coin, implanted, and meant to last years. Now trivialize that and imagine a fully functional aircraft in 1/32 scale. Think it's impossible? Nope, we already have them. There's no reason kit manufacturers can't use this technology to give us better kits. I'm not saying they will but we are seeing them get pretty darn close already.



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