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General Design Guidelines

General Design Guidelines

Plastics are used in a variety of diverse and
demanding applications
There are design elements that are common
to most plastic parts
Wall thickness

General Design Guidelines

Keep walls as thin as possible
Thick enough to meet strength requirements
If too thick part will warp or crack
Thinner is better

Use a uniform wall thickness

Areas where the wall increases in thickness are
subject to warping, cracking and showing sink
Change must be gradual and not exceed 20% of

General Design Guidelines

Use ribs and gussets to improve part
They provide a good way to strengthen a
part without making the wall thicker

Use generous radii at all corners

Eliminates stress concentration and will
make it easier to remove the part

Design parts with draft to facilitate


Wall Thickness
What are the considerations for deciding wall
It must be thick and stiff enough for the job. Wall
thickness could be 0.5 to 5mm.
It must also be thin enough to cool faster, resulting
lower part weight and higher productivity.
Any variation in wall thickness should be kept as
minimum as possible.
A plastic part with varying wall thickness will
experience differing cooling rates and different
shrinkage. Where wall thickness variation is
essential, the transition between the two should be

Wall Thickness
Solid shape molding is not desired in injection
molding due to following reasons.
Cooling time is proportional to square of wall
thickness. Large cooling time for solid will defeat
the economy of mass production. (poor conductor
of heat)
Thicker section shrink more than thinner section,
thereby introduce differential shrinkage resulting in
warpage or sink mark etc. (shrinkage
characteristics of plastics and pvT characteristics)

Wall Thickness
Therefore we have basic rule for plastic part
design; as far as possible wall thickness
should be uniform or constant through out
the part. This wall thickness is called nominal
wall thickness.
If there is any solid section in the part, it
should be made hollow by introducing core.
This should ensure uniform wall thickness
around the core.

Wall Thickness

Wall Thickness
Core out thick
sections of the part
to create a uniform
wall thickness

Wall thickness
When thickness
changes are
necessary use
gradual transitions

Corners of the part should be rounded
to reduce the stress concentration at
the corner and make removal easier
They are the number one cause of part
failure, stress concentration, poor flow
patterns and increased tool wear

Corners should
always be designed
with a minimum fillet
radius of 50% of wall
thickness and outer
radius of 150% of
thickness to
maintain a constant
wall thickness

Draft is necessary for ejection of parts from
the mold
Recommended draft angle is 1 degree with
degree on ribs
Draft all surface parallel to the direction of
mold separation
Use standard one degree of draft plus an
additional one degree of draft for every 0.001
in of texture depth

Draft Guidelines

Ribs are an economical means to
improve stiffness and strength without
increasing overall wall thickness
Other uses for ribs
Locating components of an assembly
Providing alignment in mating part
Acting as stops or guides

Proper rib design involves five main

In parts where sink
marks are of no
concern, rib base
thickness, t, can be 7585% of wall thickness
Where sink marks are
objectionable rib base
thickness, t, should not
exceed 50% of wall
thickness if textured
30% if not textured

Multiple ribs should be


Gussets are rib like features that add
support to structures such as

Limit gusset thickness to one half to two

thirds of wall thickness to prevent sink

Contour lines show
flow front position at
incremental time
Squared gussets
can trap air in the

Gusset Design

Bosses find use in many part designs
as points for attachments and assembly
Most common variety consists of
cylindrical projection with holes
designed to receive
Threaded inserts
Other types of fastening devices

The outside diameter of
bosses should remain 2
to 2.4 times the outside
diameter of the screw or
To prevent sink marks,
keep the boss wall
thickness to nominal
wall thickness the same
as for ribs
Bosses should have a
blended radius at the

Boss Sink Recess
A recess around the
base of a thick boss
reduces sink.

Holes and Cores

Cores are the protruding parts of the
mold that forms the inside surface of
features such as holes, pockets and
Design parts so that cores can separate
from the part in the mold opening
Otherwise you will have to add slides or

Holes and Cores

The depth to diameter ratio of blind
holes should not exceed 3:1
If the core is supported on both ends
the depth to diameter ratio doubles to 6:
Holes will be no closer to each other
than 2 times the part thickness or twice
the hole diameter

Molded Threads
The molding process accommodates
thread forming directly in a part
External threads centered on the
parting line add little to the molding cost
Internal threads require unthreading
devices which add to molding costs

Molded Threads
Common thread
profiles used with

Molded Threads
Stop threads short
of the end to avoid
making thin,
feathered threads
that can easily cross
Limit pitch to less
than 32 threads per
inch for ease of
molding and to