Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Factory Tour - Injection Molding

Not directly ham radio related, but I suspect the process for creating the cases for the radios is the same. Also, given the amount of effort required to make a mold, you can see why the TYT TH-F8 and Boafeng UV-5R (among others) might look the same.

MIT Media Lab IAP 2013 - Shenzhen, China:
"The tool and die shop was amazing. I had no idea how massive the tooling was just to make a simple enclosure. The tooling is cut out of steel using CNC, EDM (Electron Discharge Machining), and manual milling. Each steel mold can weigh a ton or more and requires a lot of manual and automated work. Depending on the finish, the molds also need to be hand polished. To tool and die shop consists of a lot of heavy metalworking equipment. The steel blocks are first cut on the CNC machine. The EDM machine is used to remove steel in parts that can't be cut accurately using a CNC machine. It uses electrical current to remove steel at a rate of 5 microns per electrical burst."
And on a side note, the drinking matches my experience, too. The hosts would, one-by-one, engage you in a "ganbei". This might result in your having four or five drinks to their one. You could often respond with "cheers" and you would just have to take a small drink instead of finishing your glass. Another tactic would be to tap the table with your drink and it meant everyone at the table had to "ganbei."
"This concluded our tour of this injection molding factory and the boss of the factory took us all out to lunch. I didn't realize that lunch included drinking alcohol and we had many "ganbei" (chinese for "bottoms up") glasses of beer with the boss. By the end of lunch, I was fairly trashed and Bunnie was getting there too."
Oh and the "white lightening," as we called it, was horrible. I much prefer the warm Coca Cola and ginger drink that they also encountered. I've actually made that drink at home a few times.
"AQS, a contract manufacturer that was helping to organize all the tours and also a company that Bunnie works closely with, took us all out to dinner with their staff. It was a wonderful dinner and we talked about a lot of the things we saw with them. They also broke out the Chinese hard liquor (53% alcohol) and proudly proclaimed that they wanted to drink with us. I hid from the "white liquor" since I've had a few bad experiences with it but most of the others were game to try it out. Overall, it was a fun evening with AQS and it was our first real dinner together as a group. It was a wonderful chance to meet everyone and hear about what they were working on, why they were on the trip, and just randomly ramble on in a happy, semi drunken state :) "


  1. I also want to visit an injection molding factory to know more about the process in running it. I want to have my own one someday.

    1. I don't think I will go that route, but I am interested in 3D printing.

  2. The tool and die shop was amazing. I had no idea how massive the tooling was just to make a simple enclosure.