Re: Space Puzzle Molding

From: Douglas A. VanPutte (
Date: Mon May 10 1999 - 17:25:53 EEST

As a follow-up to Glenn's inquiry and Terry's kind introduction, let me
expand upon Space Puzzle Molding(R) or SPM(R):

SPM(R) is a proprietary process developed for injection molding prototypes
using tools designed and constructed with a number of matching parts such
that the mold is assembled like a puzzle. Each mold is compact in size and
contains no ejector pins, mechanical mold slides, or cooling lines.
Precision molds are generally CNC machined in aluminum or steel, although
EDM may be used in some instances.

The assembled mold is loaded by hand or by mechanical assistance into a
holding device or frame mounted on the platens of a conventional injection
molding machine. There are six frame sizes for different size molding
machines up to 800 tons clamp. While the water-cooled frame is built
accurately and rigidly enough so as to align and contain each mold during
injection, it is flexible enough to accommodate a number of mold sizes,
eliminating the need for a number of mold bases. The molds are run at
normal processing conditions to produce accurate, complex, and
production-like prototype parts in virtually any plastic resin. After each
shot, the mold is removed from the holding device and disassembled to remove
the part. The molding cycles for SPM(R) are longer than normal cycles,
usually limiting the part quantities to under 1000 pieces. While the parts
contain no ejector pin marks, they may contain "witness lines" from the mold
match lines. Engineering changes can be accomplished swiftly with SPM(R) by
modifying or replacing only the affected segment of the mold. While
normally a prototyping process, SPM(R) can also be used to supply parts for
very low volume products which might not otherwise be injection molded.

Besides the injection molding of plastic parts, SPM(R) can be utilized for
powder injection molding, wax injection molding, and other similar injection
molding processes.

Protoform(R) North America acquired the sales and marketing rights for
SPM(R) in 1998 for the United States and Canada from Protoform(R) GmbH in
Germany. Protoform(R) GmbH developed the process 15 years ago in Fuerth,
Germany and has been very successful in supplying prototypes to automotive,
consumer products, medical products, and other companies at lower cost and
shorter lead times than conventional tools by up to 60%.

Protoform(R) North America is accepting requests for quotation for prototype
and low volume injection molded plastic parts within their present size
limitation and discussing licensing options with interested companies. For
more information on SPM(R) and Protoform(R) North America, see their web
site at ( or contact me directly.

As many of you know, I have worked in the development of rapid tools since
their inception. I am particularly pleased with the potential impact of
SPM(R) on rapid tooling. From hands-on experience with tools such as AIM
tools, SLS tools, epoxy tools, and others, I know that SPM(R) will not only
work successfully with many types of rapid tools, but will increase the
complexity and the number of parts that can be attained from these tools.

I apologize ahead of time to those who might feel that the above explanation
was too "commercial".


Douglas A. VanPutte
Consultant & Manufacturers' Agent
Cross-Bow Rapid Tool Associates, Inc.
18 Cross Bow Drive
Rochester, NY 14624-4710
Tel: 716-889-3601
Fax: 716-889-7335

>From: "Terry T. Wohlers" <>
>To: Glenn Whiteside <>
>Cc: RP-ML <>
>Subject: Space Puzzle Molding
>Date: Sun, May 9, 1999, 9:46 PM

>Glenn Whiteside wrote:
>> Could someone explain what "Space Puzzle Molding" is?
>Space Puzzle Molding is a process that was developed by Protoform GmbH of
>Fürth, Germany. I had the opportunity to see it for the first time at
>EuroMold in Frankfurt last December. Very interesting approach. The
>process was recently made available here in the U.S. by Protoform North
>America. Doug VanPutte serves as the company's senior sales
>A Space Puzzle Mold is designed with many parting lines so that it fits
>together like a puzzle. No ejector pins or mechanical mold slides are
>necessary, even for complex parts. According to Doug, SPM is capable of
>injection molding accurate, complex, and production-like prototype parts in
>virtually any plastic at normal molding conditions with a reduction in lead
>time and cost compared to other approaches. I'm sure that Doug would be
>glad to expand on this.
>Terry Wohlers
>Wohlers Associates, Inc.
>OakRidge Business Park
>1511 River Oak Drive
>Fort Collins, Colorado 80525 USA
>Fax 970-225-2027
>For more information about the rp-ml, see

For more information about the rp-ml, see

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