Injection mold design jobs might not be as easy to find as they once were, but for a skilled designer there are usually ample opportunities. Global outsourcing has changed the face of everything, including mold design, yet the promise of high quality, inexpensive designs has not really become practical.
It might look easy to design because of the powerful CAD programs, but in reality, they are just tools to help you. In the field of injection mold design you often must develop new and original methods of molding something that has never been manufactured before.
The skill of visualization and then knowing how to express this on a computer is certainly not for everyone. You also need to know how an injection mold is manufactured and have a basic understanding of the molding process.
Injection mold design basics are easy, and there are courses and software to help develop the skills necessary.
A day in the mold design or engineering department
Most injection mold designers follow a schedule similar to the mold makers. Because their mold designs are soon going to be manufactured by the mold makers, there is a very close relationship between these two.
A mold designer spends most of his time at his computer, using powerful CAD programs such as Unigraphics, AutoCAd, SolidWorks, MasterCam, Cimatron, and many, many others. Nowadays, the programs are incredibly fast and powerful.
Very often, working in the injection the mold design department will require you to communicate with the various mold makers, CNC programmers, WEDM operators, etc.. This rapport is critical for a successful career as an injection mold designer. You must be willing to listen and learn from others.
Usually the mold designer does not work as many hours per week as the mold maker. Because the injection mold design area is always a step ahead of manufacturing, it is common for the mold designer to also work in the shop, which can be a welcome break from sitting at the computer. Many mold designers have a mold making background and are quite good at precision work.
How to learn injection mold design
Essentially, there are two paths in the USA
- On the job training
- Learn at a school
Both are common and work well. In either case, it is highly recommended that you use an injection mold design tutorial to study on your own.
Many mold designers come from a mold making background. This is especially helpful to provide a realistic approach to the injection mold design. There is no substitute for practical experience! Mold makers truly appreciate a design that considers the actual manufacturing process.
Several tech schools and universities offer excellent courses on injection mold design. A background in mechanics, spatial relationships, ability to visualize 3D parts, and mathematics are all essential. More essential than anything though, is a willingness to learn and be teachable.