About an hour ago I discovered an awesome machine from the 60’s called a Mold-A-Rama (MAR):
Video of its operation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_sJxxeB5Lo
The Mold-A-Rama is basically a small production injection molding machine, complete with metal water-cooled mold halves and an injection ram. It created small (<5″x5″x5″) plastic figurines, and was usually found in museums and zoos.
Here’s my plan:
- Find out as much as I can about how the original MAR works. I have already found a service manual, and there actually is an old (still working) MAR near me.
- Establish the state of current DIY injection molding machine. From what I’ve seen so far, the hobbyist and DIY machines are more of a single shot system, taking a considerable amount of time to prepare the mold, fill, and then eject the part. The MAR is closer to a production injection molder, capable of reproducing parts rapidly.
- Further research production injection molders. While I have a basic understanding of the process from my manufacturing engineering class as an undergrad, I need to dive deeper into the mechanics of these tools.
- Incorporate what I have learned from my research. The goal is not to build an exact replica of the MAR, but to take the idea and update it with modern technology. I plan to replace the electromechanical controller with an arduino, the freon based cooling system with a solid state cooler, and so on.
- Create CAD model of design. Most likely the design will be modeled in Solidworks, however I may use this as an opportunity to learn Pro/E.
- Source parts
- I will have a limited budget for this, mainly because I’m not sure what I’ll do with it when I’m done. Most of the parts will likely come from industrial surplus suppliers and eBay.
- Use tools to make it? In my garage?
That’s it for now. Let the great experiment begin!