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3D Print and Additive Manufacturing of Wax and Plastic Injection Moulds.

Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Dr E Sabet Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project offers a chance to work on a truly disruptive and innovative research project in the high-tech and high-value manufacturing, with very high potential impact in aerospace and energy sectors. This project runs under a consortium between Loughborough University and a British innovative industrial partner, Photocentric Ltd.

Industrial partner of this project, Photocentric Ltd, is a patent holder in visible light curing technologies, specialising in photopolymerisation and inventors of LCD based 3D printing. Photocentric is an award-winning specialist 3D resin and LCD printer manufacturer based in Cambridgeshire, UK and Arizona, USA.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Details
Manufacturing of the mould and dies used in plastic and wax injections is often complex, expensive and slow-producing, and thus infeasible/expensive for low quantity productions or product/process development purposes. Although direct 3D printing of the plastic and wax products has received wide and successful attempts in the industry, they are still significantly expensive and slow in mass productions and require high capital investment in several industrial-sized printers. Besides not all plastic and wax material can still be directly printed, and thus 3D printing moulds and dies can enable conventional injection shops to exploit what additive manufacturing can offer to expedite design, development and manufacturing processes, while using their existing processes and capabilities.

There are a wide body of recent research and progress in 3D printing of injection dies and moulds; however, this research intends to focus on daylight curing resins for LCD-based digital light projection (DLP) methods of stereolithography 3D printing in such application. This research involves designing the right mix (binders, activators, wet agents, dispersants) for printing dies to be used in high temperature and pressure injection applications ( 70c to 150c and under several bars of pressure). Printing process will be fully studied and optimised as well with an aim to enhance dimensional resolution and accuracy of the mould and minimise the residual stress in the printed parts during printing and post-curing and to control deformation (distortion and shrinkage) of the printed moulds during printing and post-curing processes.

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All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select ‘Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering’.

Please quote reference number: UF2ES2019
Entry Requirements
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in material, chemical, or polymer science or mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, or relevant background with high credentials. Manufacturing experience and/or some understanding of the additive manufacturing process, injection moulding, or general engineering are desirable, but not essential. As part of the application process, candidates are required to write a research proposal.

Funding Notes

This project has some industrial clients who may be able to contribute to the cost of lab-based experiments/tests, but the applicant must be able to fund their study.
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