Polymer injection molding processes have been used to create high-volume parts quickly and efficiently. Injection molding uses mold plates that are traditionally made of very hard tool steels, such as P20 steel, which is extremely heavy and has very long lead times to build new molds. In this study, composite-based additive manufacturing (CBAM) was used to create mold plates using long-fiber carbon fiber and polyether ether ketone (PEEK). These mold plates were installed in an injection molding machine, and rectangular flat plates were produced using Lustran 348 acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Tensile and flexural testing was performed on these parts as well as parts produced using traditional P20 steel mold plates with the same geometry to compare the performance of the different mold plates. The parts produced using the carbon fiber mold plates were within 5% of the tensile strength and 10% of the flexural strength of the traditionally manufactured parts. However, the parts produced using the carbon fiber mold plates required additional cooling time due to the lower conductivity of the carbon fiber composite compared to the P20 steel. This allows additively manufactured composite molds to be a good substitute for conventional molds in low-volume injection molding production.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Additive manufacturing; Carbon fiber; Composite material; Injection molding; Polymer; Thermoplastic

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1573-4897; 0929-189X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





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Publication Date

01 Jan 2023