Supercharge Your Manufacturing Tools With 3D Printed Rapid Tooling

Accelerate product development, iterate quickly, and bring better products to market by incorporating 3D printed rapid tooling into your development process. Rapid tooling enables you to validate your design and material choice prior to transitioning to mass production, or alternatively provides an affordable means to produce custom or limited series of end-use parts.

Rapid Tooling for Low Volume Production With Traditional Manufacturing Processes

Combine 3D printed rapid tooling with traditional manufacturing processes to produce limited quantities of parts in common plastics, silicones, rubbers, composites, or metals, with a flexible, agile, scalable, and cost-efficient tooling process.

3D printed tools can support the low volume fabrication of parts in various materials such as:



Produce Thermoplastics Parts Cost-Effectively In House

While most plastic manufacturing processes require expensive industrial machinery, dedicated facilities, and skilled operators, 3D printed tools allow companies to create rapid prototypes and end-use parts in common thermoplastics in-house easily.

Use 3D printed molds or patterns to produce plastics with the following manufacturing processes:

Injection molding
Compression molding
Overmolding and insert molding


Overview: Injection MoldingWhite Paper: Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding with 3D Printed MoldsWebinar: Injection Molded Parts in <24 Hours? Low-Volume Injection Molding 101Overview: ThermoformingWhite Paper: Low-Volume Rapid Thermoforming With 3D Printed MoldsWebinar: Rapid Thermoforming With 3D Printed Molds: A Practical GuideWhite Paper: Guide to Manufacturing Processes for Plastics

Silicones & Rubbers

Silicones & Rubbers

Produce Complex Silicone Parts Quickly

Low-volume production for soft or flexible parts can be technically challenging, costly, and slow. Many professionals 3D print rapid tooling to mold or cast silicone parts. Desktop 3D printers offer many benefits, including design flexibility within CAD software, high accuracy, ease of prototype modification, and quick turnaround times.

Use 3D printed molds or patterns to produce silicone and rubber parts with the following manufacturing processes:

Injection molding
Compression molding
Overmolding and insert molding


White Paper: Silicone Part Production With 3D Printed ToolsWebinar: How to Produce Silicone Parts With 3D Printed ToolsWebinar: How to Design and 3D Print Molds for Casting Silicone PartsWebinar: Get to Market Faster: How to Create Silicone Parts with 3D Printed MoldsWebinar: Metal, Ceramic, and Silicone: Using 3D Printed Molds in Advanced Hybrid WorkflowsWhite Paper: 3D Printing Custom Silicone Ear Molds



Produce High-Detailed Composites In-House

Manufacturing parts in composite materials, such as carbon fiber, is a skillful and labor-intensive process for both one-off and series production. 3D printing offers a low-cost solution for rapidly producing molds and patterns. Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing creates parts with a very smooth surface finish, which is essential for composite tooling. Stiff and temperature-resistant materials are able to sustain the heat and pressure of an autoclave and can be used to create a mold for prepreg lamination. 

Use 3D printed molds to produce composites parts in the following manufacturing processes:

Compression molding


White Paper: Carbon Fiber Parts Manufacturing With 3D Printed MoldsWebinar: How to 3D Print Molds and Patterns for Composite Part Manufacturing



Produce Metal Parts With Innovative Design

While 3D printers are primarily considered tools for creating plastic parts, their high-precision and broad material library make them well-suited for casting workflows and offer interesting properties for sheet metal forming as well. Leverage 3D printing to produce metal parts at a lower cost, with greater design freedom, and in less time than traditional methods.

Use 3D printed molds, patterns, or dies to produce metal parts with the following manufacturing processes:

Sheet Metal Forming


White Paper: Fabricating Metal Parts With 3D PrintingWhite Paper: Introduction to Casting for 3D Printed Jewelry PatternsWhite Paper: Vulcanized Rubber Molding with 3D Printed MastersWhite Paper: How to do Rapid Tooling for Sheet Metal Forming with 3D Printed DiesWebinar: Sheet Metal Forming: Quickly Produce Tools In-House with 3D PrintingWebinar: Metal, Ceramic, and Silicone: Using 3D Printed Molds in Advanced Hybrid Workflows

Rapid Tooling for Injection Molding, Thermoforming, Compression Molding, and More

3D printed tools can produce short runs with traditional manufacturing processes such as:

Fast and Cost-Effective Low Volume Production

Whether you are looking to design functional prototypes with end-use materials, fabricate parts during pilot production, or manufacture end-use parts, 3D printing rapid tooling is a cost-effective and quick way to produce parts in limited quantities.

lush cosmetics made with 3D printed molds
Case Study: Functional Prototypes

How Lush Cosmetics Take Ideas From Concept to Reality in Under 24 Hours

Learn how Lush Cosmetics use their fleet of Formlabs 3D printers to create patterns for vacuum forming molds for new cosmetic designs.

braskem parts made with 3D printed molds
Case Study: End-Use Parts

How Braskem Leveraged 3D Printing to Fabricate Injection Molds for End-Use Parts

Braskem, one of the world’s leading petrochemical companies, talks about their first foray into injection molding with a 3D printed mold.

Read Now

From Design to Production Parts in 24 hours

Never again wait weeks for tooling to arrive from a service provider. Formlabs' complete, easy-to-use ecosystem can seamlessly be integrated into a range of traditional manufacturing workflows. Save time and money on low-volume projects by leveraging the benefits of 3D printed molds and patterns to quickly and affordably produce hundreds to thousands of parts in plastics and metal. 

Step 1


Design your mold or pattern in CAD.
3D print
Step 2

3D Print

Choose the right resin from our expansive materials library and 3D print the part on a Formlabs SLA 3D printer.
Step 3


Insert the 3D printed rapid tool in your machine or use the pattern in your workflow and carry out the production process.
Step 4


Remove the part and post-process it if needed.

Save Money and Time

While the upfront cost of a printer setup can feel intimidating, it can pay for itself in just a couple of weeks or months when you compare it with how much you’d spend on outsourcing or an alternative production method.

MoldIn-House 3D PrintingOutsourcing
Time< 1 day1-8 weeks

Curious to see how much you can save? Try our interactive ROI tool to calculate cost per part and lead time when 3D printing on Formlabs 3D printers.

Calculate Your Time and Cost Savings
comparison: rapid tooling costs in-house with 3d printing vs outsourcing

Tools to Get Started 3D Printing Rapid Tooling

Formlabs' ecosystem of accessible 3D printers and high-performance materials can be used to fabricate strong, smooth, highly detailed molds and patterns capable of producing hundreds to thousands of parts.

Tools for Rapid Tooling


Form 3+

High-Performance SLA 3D Printer

The Form 3+ produces molds and patterns with a high-quality surface finish and fine features, ensuring that the production parts come out true to design with minimal post-processing.

Use the Form 3+ at various points of the product development process for a faster ROI. From 3D printing prototype parts to producing molds for short-run production of those same parts, the Formlabs ecosystem is easy to integrate into any product development process.

Form 3
Form 3 and injection molded parts
injection molding & 3d printing
3d printing ecosystem

Additional Resources About Rapid Tooling

Check out some additional resources to help you get started combining 3D printed rapid tooling with traditional manufacturing processes.

Get Started 3D Printing Injection Molds