Hybrid process chain for the integration of direct ink writing and polymer injection molding

Dario Loaldi, Leonardo Piccolo, Eric Brown, Guido Tosello, Corey Shemelya, Davide Masato*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    The integration of additive manufacturing direct-writing technologies with injection molding provides a novel method to combine functional features into plastic products, and could enable mass-manufacturing of custom-molded plastic parts. In this work, direct-write technology is used to deposit conductive ink traces on the surface of an injection mold. After curing on the mold surface, the printed trace is transferred into the plastic part by exploiting the high temperature and pressure of a thermoplastic polymer melt flow. The transfer of the traces is controlled by interlocking with the polymer system, which creates strong plastic/ink interfacial bonding. The hybrid process chain uses designed mold/ink surface interactions to manufacture stable ink/polymer interfaces. Here, the process chain is proposed and validated through systematic interfacial analysis including feature fidelity, mechanical properties, adhesion, mold topography, surface energy, and hot polymer contact angle.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number509
    Issue number5
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Direct-writing
    • Additive manufacturing
    • Injection molding
    • Micro manufacturing
    • Functionalization


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