Surface Finish Considerations in Custom Plastic Injection Molding

There are many surface finish considerations during custom plastic injection molding which are important to address prior to developing part and tool design. The surface finish may be critical for parts that require a secondary operation, such as painting, or for parts visibly seen by the consumer. The functionality of the part must be a factor in determining the best finish that will provide maximum performance. 

The injection-molded part surface finish will affect appearance and functionality. The cost of the tool may increase for parts that require smooth, high gloss or a higher level of finish. Parts only functional in nature and are not visible typically do not require specialized surface finish options to keep costs low. Working with an experienced custom plastic injection molder, such as QT Manufacturing, will provide the best solution for surface finish options.

There are many surface finish options available such as:

Custom Plastic Injection Molding Surface Finish Considerations

  • Rough textured finish
  • Matte finish
  • Smooth gloss finish
  • Smooth high gloss finish
  • Finish with geometric designs
  • Identifier marks
  • Tooling marks removed
  • Surface finish ready for secondary operations, such as printing, painting or etching

The injection mold design engineer and custom plastic injection molder should work together during the planning process to address the following considerations:

  • Visual appeal – the importance of visual appeal must be determined during the tool design phase. Consider whether or not the part’s aesthetics will affect consumer-purchasing decisions, ease of use or functionality.
  • Functionality – surface finish may affect functionality, such as a textured finish providing grip or a smooth finish allowing smooth operation in an assembly. Some parts require a surface prepared for additional adhesive applications. The functionality of the part must be thoroughly examined to determine the best surface finish process.
  • Material selection – the type of surface finish desired drives the choice of raw material specified in the molding process and must be determined prior to selecting material.  Working with an injection molder with experience in molding various materials and mold flow simulation allows for thorough examination of the best material choices.  An experienced molder can mix materials to obtain the desired color combination which may avoid secondary painting processes. 
  • Secondary operations – if a part is slated for secondary operations such as screen printing, painting, chrome plating, assembly or any number of secondary processes the surface finish required for maximum performance must be determined during the design phase.
  • Injection molding speed and temperature – the speed and temperature of the molding process affects the surface finish of molded products, while also affecting the cycle time and overall profitability. Determining the surface finish, material and optimum cycle time is critical in developing a reliable quotation for injection molded components.

QT Manufacturing Offers Custom Plastic Injection Molding

QT Manufacturing meets your molded part surface finish specifications through experienced mold design, construction and skilled custom plastic injection molding processes. We understand the importance of thoroughly examining all considerations of part surface finish specifications and how to provide the finish required with the most economical options. We follow a strict quality management system in all processes including injection mold making, plastic injection molding and precision CNC machining.

QT Manufacturing is a domestic contract manufacturer in Dallas – Ft. Worth specializing in small parts manufacturing with engineering resins, aluminum, hardened and stainless steel. We are registered to ISO9001:2015 and AS9100 rev D, following a strict quality management system.  Contact us today to learn how you can reduce your custom plastic injection molding component cost while improving product quality and delivery.