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Design Guidelines

Size
The maximum part outline that can be molded is approximately 18.9 in. (480mm) by 29.6 in.
(751mm) or roughly equivalent to 175 sq. in. (1,129 sq. cm.). A maximum part volume of
approximately 59 cu. in. Depth up to 4 in. (101mm) from the parting line with 3 degrees of draft,
or up to 8 in. (202mm) total if the parting line can pass through the middle of the part, inside and
outside. Deeper parts are limited to a smaller outline.
Size

Draft
A taper applied to the faces of the part that prevent them from being parallel to the motion of the
mold opening is called draft. This keeps the part from being damaged due to scraping as the part
is ejected out of the mold. Recommended draft:

0.5 degrees on all vertical faces is strongly advised.

2 degrees works very well in most situations.

3 degrees is minimum for a shutoff (metal sliding on metal).

3 degrees is required for light texture (PM-T1).

5 or more degrees is required for heavy texture (PM-T2).

Draft

Undrafted

Drafted

Tolerances
Typically, Proto Labs can maintain a machining tolerance of .003 in. (0.08mm) with an
included resin tolerance that can be greater than but no less than .002 in./in. (0.002mm/mm).

Wall thickness
With injection-molded parts, observing proper (and uniform) wall thickness helps parts avoid
potential issues such as sink marks and warpage. Recommended thicknesses vary by material:
Resin
Inches
ABS
0.045 - 0.140
Acetal
0.030 - 0.120
Acrylic
0.025 - 0.500
Liquid crystal polymer
0.030 - 0.120
Long-fiber reinforced plastics
0.075 - 1.000
Nylon
0.030 - 0.115
Polycarbonate
0.040 - 0.150
Polyester
0.025 - 0.125
Polyethylene
0.030 - 0.200
Polyphenylene sulfide
0.020 - 0.180
Polypropylene
0.025 - 0.150
Polystyrene
0.035 - 0.150
Polyurethane
0.080 - 0.750
The table* shows wall thicknesses that Proto Labs recommends according to resin for injection
molding. Please note that thin walls only work on small parts and thicker walls are required

where the resin has a long way to flow. Proto Labs' injection molding process makes parts with
dimensions from about 0.25 in. to 29.6 in. (6.3mm to 752mm).
*Adapted from www.manufacturingcenter.com.

Wall thickness

Surface finish
A number of standard finishes are available for injection-molded parts at Proto Labs. Our current
finishes include non-cosmetic, low-cosmetic and EDM finishes; bead-blast texturing; and highend mold polishing.
Standard finishes (from least to most costly):
PM-F0:
Non-cosmetic: finish to Protomold discretion
PM-F1:
Low-cosmetic: most toolmarks removed
PM-F2:
Non-cosmetic: Protomold discretion, EDM finish and/or toolmarks permissible
SPI-C1:
600 grit stone, 10-12 Ra
PM-T1:
Protomold texture, SPI-C1 followed by light bead blast
PM-T2:
Protomold texture, SPI-C1 followed by medium bead blast
SPI-B1:
600 grit paper, 2-3 Ra
SPI-A2:
Grade #2 Diamond Buff, 1-2 Ra
*PM in the table signifies a surface finish adjusted to fit the quick-turn injection molding
process, where SPI (The Society of the Plastics Industry) denotes an industry-standard finish.
Surface finish

PM-F0

SPI-A2

PM-T2

Radii
Because Proto Labs employs an automated CNC milling process to make the mold for your
parts, some part corners will end up with a radius rather than a sharp edge. This does not usually
require a change to the model, but the designer is made aware of these radii before the mold is
made.
Radii

Ejector pins
Proto Labs' injection molding process uses ejector pins of various sizes to push the plastic part
out of the mold after it has solidified. The sizes and arrangement of these pins are selected to
minimize the impact on your part design. Ejector pins range in size from 0.063 in. (1.6mm) to
0.5 in. (12.7mm), with sizes larger than 0.063 in. (1.6mm) preferred.
Ejector pins

Undercuts
Our molding process supports simple undercuts in your part geometry. Maximum side core
dimensions:
Width
Height
Pull
8.419 in.
2.377 in
2.900 in.
213.84mm
60.38mm
73.66mm
Undercuts

Materials

Proto Labs stocks hundreds of thermoplastic resins for injection molding that offer a variety of
benefits for many different applications and industries. See full list of materials.

ABS

ABS/PC

Acetal

Acetal Copolymer

Acetal Homopolymer

ETPU

HDPE

LCP

LDPE

LLDPE

Nylon 6

Nylon 6/12

Nylon 66

PBT

PC/PBT

PEEK

PEI

PET

PETG

PMMA

Polycabonate

Polypropylene

PPA

PPE/PS

PPS

PS

PSU

SB

TPE

TPU

TPV