Mini-Molder: Blow Molder Scratch-Built By Single Hacker



We caught up with [James Durand] at Maker Faire. He was one of the rare Makers (no mention of selling or future crowd funding) that had a booth at Maker Faire — he was exhibiting a blow molding machine that he built from scratch.

The fabrication process is 100% [James]. Every custom part was designed and milled by him. All of the assembly techniques were his to learn along the way. And we didn’t see anything that isn’t production ready. We’re both impressed and envious.

About three years ago he got the itch to build the mini-molder after learning about the Mold-A-Rama machine — a blow-molding vending machine that was popular a half century ago. A bit of his journey is documented as a molding category on his blog. For the most part it sounds like 1.5 years spent on the CAD design really paid off. He did share one element that required redesign. The initial prototype had a problem with the molds being pushed up when they came together. He tweaked the mechanism to close with a downward motion by flipping the hinge design. This seems to hold everything in place while the drinking fountain chiller and water pump cool the mold and the plastic model within.

24 thoughts on “Mini-Molder: Blow Molder Scratch-Built By Single Hacker

    1. The title here said injection molding originally. I guess it was changed in response to a complaint that said it was blow molding.

      It’s injection molding. Not really close to the process of blow molding other than it results in a hollow product.

      According to the builder’s description in the video, the molten plastic is injected then the mold is chilled long enough to create a thin shell of solidified plastic. Then the remaining molten plastic is removed from inside that shell. The removal of the remaining molten plastic is aided by air pressure, but I don’t believe that justifies calling this a blow molding process.

  1. Also you reference the Mold-a-rama as a blow molding machine which it isn’t either. It is an injection molding machine. I know Wikipedia says it’s a blow molding machine but I’m afraid Wiki is also incorrect. There are several videos on YouTube of the mold-a-rama in action and you can see the process in action.

  2. “He was one of the rare Makers (no mention of selling or future crowd funding) that had a booth at Maker Faire”

    Having been one of those makers that was not selling or crowd funding at a Maker Faire, by the end of the day I was wondering to myself what I was doing there. It was interesting talking to people about my projects for about the first hour, but after that it got really old. It does seem like a good question, why? I’m still trying to come up with a good answer.

    1. All creative projects eventually get diluted by competitive exclusion. You are likely trying to work cooperatively to improve your understanding of things, while lower functioning individuals are primarily motivated by reward incentives.
      Unfortunately the ends justify the means in the real world, and success is defined by most people as having acquired notoriety or a monetary sum.

      Prepare yourself, there are far more retards on this earth than can accurately be counted.

      1. The chances of you running into fellow hobbyist blow mold fabricators at such an event is very low. At least with the internet, fellow blow mold fabricator enthusiasts can meet up and talk, exchange ideas, etc.

  3. I am the Department Chair of Applied Technologies at a community college. I was a mold maker before becoming an educator. Would you consider sharing your information? I would like to see this as a departmental project.

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