Strange Injection Molding And Moldmaker Stories

During my years as a plastic injection mold maker, I have encountered some very strange individuals. Now, they might say the same about me, but these guys were truly over the top.

My favorite case is a man named Mike. I was working in Seattle, and the mold making shop was typical of those in the area because it had so many people from all over the world. In fact, I think we had at least 10 nationalities represented there. Mold makers from Taiwan, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, Brazil and various other countries.

Mike, however, was born and raised in the Denver area. He was a Viet-Nam vet and was clearly affected by the horrors of war. He used to randomly laugh like Satan, quite loudly so that anyone in the building could hear. Then he would begin talking about burning gooks and laugh again.

I tried to befriend him, thinking I might be able to help him in some way. I even had him come to church with me once. Unfortunately, he scared the little children and the parents asked my why I brought him there. They were right, I should have just met with him one-on-one, if at all.

The last day I saw him at work, before he took off to rescue his daughter, was when I gave him a ride one Saturday morning to go to work. When we arrived at his apartment, we found him sitting in an overstuffed chair, surrounded by 24 oz. bottles of malt liquor and breathing in huge quantities of marijuana smoke that filled the room.

Somehow he managed to get to work with us, the next day he was gone.

Two months later he returned from rescuing his daughter in Denver. Seems she had some rough times and so did Mike. He came into the shop with no shirt on, broken glasses, and a gun in his pants waist!

He was ranting how he was the best mold maker in the shop and demanded his job back. I don’t know how the very civilized Swiss owner managed it, but Mike disappeared, never to return. Thankfully!

Tell us your story, just leave a comment.

Wet Surface Grinding Tip

If you have ever ground hardened tool steel on an automatic surface grinder that uses flood coolant, you probably have noticed that the coolant cools the workpiece to a much lower temperature than the ambient air temperature in the room. This means the workpiece has contracted in size, while your height gage or gage blocks have not.

So, you might think your block is exactly the correct size, but the next day you discover that it has mysteriously grown in size. The bigger the block, the more the size changes.

In the past, I guessed from experience how much change would occur, and this worked OK. But then came to some mold cavity blocks made out of D-2 tool steel. Anyway, you machine this tough stuff, it is a problem. In fact, maybe it should be illegal!

What I started doing with great success, was keeping gage blocks set up next to the workpiece while it was being ground. Obviously, you can’t have the correct amount because you would be grinding them when you got to size. You could always set them far enough away from the grinding, but I think it makes more sense to keep it close for the sake of accuracy.

You then use a very small granite surface plate and your height gage with a dial indicator to physically inspect the height of the workpiece. Keep everything clean, use good practice and you will find this method works very well.

You might also use a magnetic base on the wheel guard with an indicator, but I find the vibration of the machine disturbs my measurement.