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NAK 80 “Steeling” The Show for Injection Molding Bridge Tooling

Oct 24 2012

During the 20 years I built injections molds, the choice steel for quick and cost effective tooling was and in most cases still is P20. Durable yet easily machined it provided adequate tool life which made it very popular especially in the fields of prototyping and product development.

Some of the characteristics that as an ex-tool maker interested me are:

  • NAK 80 is rated at 40HRc compared to P20 at 32HRc
  • Our tool makers reported longer cutting tool life and faster machining times
  • It has a uniformed grain structure that allows high quality polishing and texturing

In a perfect world, every mold would be built and the first shots would be ready for production.  Yet as anyone who has designed products, built tooling or purchased molded parts knows it is never that simple.  Changes are going to occur during at some point and modifications will be required.

Modifications on a cosmetic surface requiring welding will lead to unavoidable witness lines surrounding the weld.  Welded areas could never be polished or textured adequately to eliminate the visual inconsistencies. With the use of NAK 80 the mold can be welded and re-hardened with no distortion or added stresses. This makes the witness lines indistinguishable from the original surfaces.

I will leave you with this from Apple tooling engineer, Roland Krevitt regarding the benefits of NAK 80.  This philosophy is shared for any size company working toward getting product to market.

"In today's business environment, it is crucial that we shorten the time to market for new products as much as is humanly possible. Because of this constant pressure, we are usually forced to build molds while the parts are being designed. This means we make a lot of changes to our molds, both during the construction and after the try-out. If NAK was not available, we would be in trouble. Our ability to make these changes, sometimes in an already textured area, has saved us countless times. We have also found that NAK etches much better than other mold steels."