I’ve learned a great deal about moldmaking during my time with this magazine—at least enough to be confident in my ability to write about it effectively. Yet, my practical experience is limited. I’ve never set up a job, plotted a tool path, spotted a mold or done any of the other tasks that constitute the day-to-day experience of working in a modern mold-building facility. Barring a lot of patience on the part of any hypothetical mold-shop employer, I’m pretty sure I’d fail miserably.
These days, of course, managers might have no choice but to be patient with fresh new hires who might very well have even less practical experience than I do. Beyond that, few people can call themselves experts in an exceedingly complex industry that changes quickly, and constantly. Whether the goal is to learn or to refresh existing knowledge, everybody can benefit from a handy educational reference, and I recently found one in “plastics university,” a free online offering from mold component supplier DME.
If you’re not aware of this, it’s worth a look. Developed in partnership with Ferris State University, this educational tool offers eight different courses, ranging from the basics of mold print reading to runner and gate design. In my view, the best part about it is the visuals. Each course is rife with pictures and diagrams, and even more notably, animations, which are a great help when seeking to understand the complex interactions of all the moving parts in a typical mold. Few know better than I do how difficult this technology can be to describe—in this industry, a picture may well be worth more than 1,000 words—and I often find myself turning to these helpful aids. Perhaps you (or your employees or coworkers) might benefit as well. Check it out here.
Do you know of any similar resources, free or otherwise, that have been essential to your mold education, or that of your employees or peers? If so, I’d love to hear about it—just send me an email.