Musical Instrument Injection Molding
Here at SEA-LECT Plastics, we are always on the lookout for a challenge. And if that challenge also looks like it’s going to be fun, that’s just so much the better.
That’s why when we were given the opportunity to do musical instrument injection molding of ukulele bodies early last year, we didn’t hesitate to accept. The idea of helping to create musical instruments was much too intriguing to pass up. And after one year into the project, all we can say is that we hope there are more musical instrument projects in the future.
Here’s how it all started
Our partnership with plastic ukulele manufacturer, Outdoor Ukulele, began after they had unsuccessfully tested several versions of glass-filled Polycarbonate with other molders. The company gave us a chance to try our hand at it. And with the help and cooperation of our exceptional material and color suppliers–plus utilizing two brand new Milacron molding machines–we were able to meet Outdoor Ukulele’s expectations.
We needed the expertise of one of our skilled plastics process technicians, which is the case whenever we start any new injection mold project. Working side-by-side with Outdoor Ukulele, we collected sufficient material and process data to get things rolling.
Of course, every new molding job has a learning curve, but this one was relatively short. After only a few rounds of testing, we were producing both halves of this amazing ukulele body.
Our very own Outdoor Ukuleles
Outdoor Ukulele had promised to send us finished instruments as soon as they had fulfilled all their orders. So, in December of 2017, two early Christmas presents arrived from Bend, Oregon. Our project coordinator, Ian, had the honor of opening them.
Our customer had sent us two ukuleles–a Soprano, and a Tenor–and both were fully equipped with strings and tuners. Ian surprised us all by immediately strumming out a professional-sounding tune on the smaller Soprano.
We weren’t surprised that the ukuleles looked rugged. After all, these instruments were developed for backpacking, camping, and traveling. And they have been “played in the Arctic Ocean, paddled down the Amazon River, and hiked both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails,” according to their manufacturer.
What did surprise us was the exquisite beauty of these instruments. Both ukuleles, Outdoor’s Moonshine Nickel models, are injection molded from translucent composite polycarbonate. Glass fiber strands within the plastic give the instrument a natural grain structure. It made us proud to be part of this musical creation that is so pleasing to the eye and has such brilliant acoustics.