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22455 Everton Avenue North
Forest Lake, MN 55025
Phone 763.535.2334



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  • Custom Mold & Design at Amerimold 2019
  • Custom Mold & Design at MD&M West - Anaheim, Feb 5-7, 2019
  • Custom Mold & Design and Matsuura USA Partnership
  • Custom Mold & Design Announces Partnership with Matsuura USA
  • Custom Mold & Design featured in Manufacturing Today
  • Custom Mold & Design featured in MoldMaking Technology!

Custom Mold & Design at Amerimold 2019 - June 12-13, 2019

Custom Mold & Design will be exhibiting at Amerimold for the first time in 2019Stop by booth #1012 to hear about all of the exciting things happening at Custom Mold & Design, including our new Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 metal laser sintering hybrid milling machine; a powder bed metal additive manufacturing platform with subtractive machining capability.

We look forward to seeing you there!


CMD at Amerimold 2019


CMD MDM 600x250

Custom Mold & Design will be exhibiting at MD&M West in Anaheim, California, February 5-7, 2019. Please stop by booth 2959 to learn more about all Custom Mold & Design has to offer, including our new additive manufacturing equipment; the Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 metal laser sintering hybrid milling machine.

We look forward to see you there!

Click here for more information about the show and to register.  Use code SPECIALTEA568 for a free expo pass and 20% off conference pricing.






Custom Mold & Design is excited to be partnering with Matsuura USA in applying the Matsuura LUMEX technology for the mold industry.

Custom Mold & Design and Matsuura USA LUMEX Avance-25

Contact us today for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 651-757-4000.


Custom Mold & Design is proud to announce the addition of a Matsuura LUMEX Avance-25 Metal Laser Sintering Hybrid Milling Machine as well as a partnership with Matsuura USA in applying the Matsuura LUMEX technology for the mold industry.

Custom Mold & Design and Matsuura USA Partnership

Click here to view / download a PDF version.  Contact us today for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 651-757-4000.


Custom Mold & Design is proudly featured in Manufacturing Today

Remaking the Mold - Custom Mold & Design's Capabilities Make it a Preferred Partner to its Customers.

Custom Mold and Design pic 2Custom Mold & Design’s manufacturing and design capabilities make it a preferred partner to its customers. 
By Jim Harris

Custom Mold & Design is committed to providing its customers with the highest-quality molds and machined components. For the Forest Lake, Minn.-based company, this commitment begins long before starting the fabrication process. “We are second to none in our ability to provide design for manufacturability assistance,” Vice President of Sales Thomas Caron says. “We design tooling where manufacturability and performance are of paramount importance. From the machined component side of things, we work with our customers to provide optimized part design support in an effort to reduce the costs to produce and increase part performance.”

The company is frequently involved in designing customer molds when the part is still at the “napkin-sketch level,” Early design involvement is where the most money can be saved. “We are experts in building molds that perform well, because we control all of the technologies used to produce them,” he adds. “Technologically, we are a very vertically integrated company.”

Custom Mold & Design’s expertise in providing tooling and part design assistance provides it with a competitive advantage over other custom mold and machined component manufacturers. “We excel when it comes to the quality of our product as well as in the intensity of the service that we provide.  We work diligently to assist customers in reducing their program lead times and find creative solutions to complex problems,” Caron says. “We want to be the supplier that our customers compare all of their other suppliers against because of our quality, delivery and performance.”

Complementary Services

Custom Mold & Design was founded in 1965 as a tool and die shop that designed and built custom plastic injection molds. The company added to its capabilities eight years ago when it created CMD - Precision Manufacturing Group, a division that provides precision machined components and assemblies. 

The company supplies molds and machined components to OEMs in several industries including automotive, medical device manufacturing and defense. “Whether producing high volume products or lower volume components, the molds that we produce are typically very complex in nature,” Caron says. Custom Mold and Design box

Custom Mold & Design supplies molds that span the gamut of materials including thermoplastics, elastomers, silicones and metal injection products.

Molds that are designed and manufactured by Custom Mold & Design are used to produce engine and lighting components used in cars; commercial components used in enclosures and consumer products such as tape dispensers; as well as a vast array of medical industry components ranging from disposable medical devices all the way through implantable components. The company’s molds for the defense industry are used to make products that enhance the work of military personnel. “We’re making things that minimize collateral damage or provide better communication or additional firepower for boots on the ground,” Caron says.

The CMD – Precision Manufacturing Group is proficient in manufacturing small volume prototypes as well as complex tool and fixture building. Many of its customers are automation equipment suppliers having a high mix of low volume components. On the other hand, the group also excels at taking on repetitive production opportunities requiring medium to high volume quantities of machined components and assemblies.

Custom Mold & Design also provides molds, tooling and machine components to its sister company Teamvantage, a custom contract manufacturer that specializes in plastic injection molding. In addition, Teamvantage frequently performs tooling trials on molds manufactured by Custom Mold & Design.

“[Teamvantage] is a nice complement to what we do, because it gives us the ability to provide complete turnkey manufacturing solutions,” Caron adds. “Most tooling shops have limited or no capability to sample a mold. Conversely, we have access to a world-class company that employs scientific injection molding methodologies to develop robust manufacturing processes, and who has significant metrology horsepower to perform complete process validation services to support the custom tooling we’re providing to our end-customers.”

In addition to Teamvantage, Custom Mold & Design is a corporate sibling of Paradigme Engineering LLC, which the company’s owner acquired in 2017. Paradigme operates a 15,000-square-foot mold design and fabrication facility in Becker, Minn.

Manufacturing Capabilities

Custom Mold & Design manufactures molds and machined components in a state-of-the-art 42,000-square-foot facility in Forest Lake, which the company refurbished three years ago. The company is ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified as well as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registered.

From the tooling perspective, “Once we have a properly designed part, our team comes in and designs/fabricates the tooling that produces the best molded components in the industry,” Caron says. “At the end of the day, we’re providing extremely well designed and built tooling that is capable of meeting all performance and dimensional requirements.”

Core to the company’s success is its state-of-the-art hard milling equipment.  The company has several 3, 4 and 5-axis YASDA and Makino CNC milling machines as well as multi-axis mill turn machines including a 12-axis Nakamura.  Other machines on Custom Mold & Design’s floor include wire and sinker electrical discharge (EDM) machines, graphite milling machines and Swiss lathes.

In the past five years, Custom Mold & Design has added automation capabilities to its 5-axis milling equipment, sinker EDM and graphite milling machines. “We can load up these machines and run them around the clock unattended,” Caron says. “[Automation] increases our quality and throughput and decreases our costs to produce.”

The company uses lean manufacturing methods such as 5S throughout its operations. “Lean is an integral part of what we do here,” he adds. “We work toward improvement in everything we do.”

The next step in Custom Mold & Design’s continuous improvement process is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) it is putting in place throughout its operations. “This is a means for us to clearly create a company vision and set of values by which we drive our organization and flow information down through every level of our company so everyone is clear about what we’re doing and where we are going,” Caron says. “This system will give everyone proper ownership and responsibility for what they do.”

Technology Focused

Custom Mold & Design is constantly investing in new technologies such as conformal cooling and additive manufacturing. “We have a specific technology road map,” Caron says. “We identify and test different technologies and put steps in place to bring that technology into our organization and use it to the benefit of our customers.”

Custom Mold & Design invests heavily in equipment each year. “We add equipment like it’s going out of style,” he says. “Our passion for constantly finding new and better equipment sets us apart.

“When other companies were cutting back because the economy was down, we were buying more equipment to further differentiate ourselves from the competition,” he adds. “We don’t want to be a me-too organization, we want to be on the cutting-edge.”

Internal Investment

Equipment is just one ingredient of what Caron calls the company’s “secret sauce.” “We’re proud of the people we have running the equipment and the culture of teamwork and respect we’ve established here,” Caron says. “We want to make sure our people have the very best training and the ability to run the state-of-the-art equipment we invest in.

“The whole structure of our organization starts with our internal culture and leadership,” he adds. “Our owner cares about our employees and does the right things to make them successful, including providing product, equipment and job-specific training.”

The company’s training programs include EOS and machine training as well as mathematics skills and blueprint reading courses. “We want to provide an appropriate level of training through all levels of our organization and give ample opportunities for advancement to anyone who chooses to take advantage of those,” Caron says.

Custom Mold & Design’s dedication to its customers and culture has enabled it to grow. “We’ve seen financial growth of 15 to 20 percent per year for the past five years, which is a testament that our culture seems to be working,” he adds.



Click here for a downloadable PDF of the full article.


Shrink-Fit System Helps Moldmaker Boost CNC Accuracy, Productivity and Tool Life

    Originally titled 'Shrink-Fit System Boosts CNC Accuracy, Productivity and Tool Life'

    Case Study Post: 11/1/2017

Fine tuning a CNC machine for maximum speed and having the ability to run lights-out machining means controlling a wide variety of elements like tool holding. The inherent benefit of shrink-fit technology, as compared to other tool holding options, is that it virtually eliminates the toolholder as a variable for error. 

Related Suppliers

When you pay millions of dollars for the CNC machines in your shop, you want maximum payback from your investment. Equipment that sits idly costs money, as does equipment that is intended to run lights-out but that cannot run without supervision.

Fine tuning a CNC machine for maximum speed and having the ability to run lights-out machining means controlling a wide variety of elements like tool holding. The inherent benefit of shrink-fit technology, as compared to other tool holding options, is that it virtually eliminates the toolholder as a variable for error. This repeatable quality enables operators to establish a solid baseline from which they can really begin to fine tune their machining processes and maximize efficiency. 

Custom Mold and Design (Minneapolis, Minnesota) designs and builds high-precision, fast-cycling injection molds for a range of industries, including the medical industry. Most of the jobs they run for the medical industry require cutting tools with diameters that are smaller than 2 millimeters, working in hardened materials such as P20, S7, A2 and H13 tool steels. The team at Custom Mold knew that maintaining runout accuracy was a problem. Maintaining the runout accuracy was impeding their productivity on eight machines that produce small medical components because of the collet holders. According to Gregg Virnig, manufacturing engineering manager, the problem was the collet design, which caused dirt and chips to collect and remain in the holder, even after time-consuming cleaning procedures. Even minute particles of debris were enough to create uneven clamping pressure, which ultimately led to inconsistent runout accuracy. This inaccuracy had a direct impact on both productivity and tool life. Custom Mold spent a lot of extra time cleaning the collet chucks before starting a job to reduce the runout that slowed machining speeds and caused costly rework and scrapped parts. Additionally, the runout issues prevented an even distribution of the chip load on all of the cutter flutes, which caused the tools to chip or break before they realized their full, useful life. “We would see 0.0004-inch runout on the first try, which is a deal breaker with many of the small diameter endmills we use. The slightest error in runout makes a big impact on the smaller parts that we make. We would have to break down the tool holder and try again. Let’s say, for example, we are cutting with a 0.015-inch diameter cutting tool. If the cutting tool had 0.0005-inch runout once it was put into the tool holder, it would cut like a 0.0155-inch diameter cutting tool, not the 0.0150 inch for which it was programmed. This may not seem like much, but for many of our high precision mold components, the resulting part would not be usable because it would be undersized by 0.0005 inch,” Virnig says. 

Custom Mold turned to Haimer USA and its inductive shrink-fit system for toolholders to bring out the full potential of their CNC machines, which the shrink-fit system achieves by increasing accuracy, finish, productivity, repeatability and tool life. “We wanted to run lights-out, and the collets we were using just didn’t have the runout accuracy and balance properties we needed because of their design,” Virnig says. “We bought the Haimer Power Clamp Mini machine with BT40, HSKA-32 and HSKA-63 toolholders and have never looked back.”

Shrink Fit Improves Accuracy, Finish and Productivity

With the shrink-fit system, Custom Mold saw a notable reduction in benching. They needed less rework to bring out-of-tolerance parts back into specification, which helped Custom Mold’s throughput by getting the next job in queue on the machine faster. Haimer’s Drew Strauchen, vice president of business development, explains how the Power Clamp shrink-fit machines and toolholders work. “The toolholder expands from the heat that is applied via the induction coil. You drop the cutting tool in, and within seconds the toolholder cools and shrinks, securely clamping the cutting tool in place. The whole process takes about five seconds,” he says. “Additionally, shrink fit is an inherently closed system. This means that it is easier to clean, plus dirt is less likely to inadvertently cause runout from uneven clamping pressure.” Virnig concurs, saying that previously, it was necessary to take the cutting tool and collet out of the collet holder to re-clean and re-set up the cutting tool so they could check to see if there was any improvement in the runout. If not, dialing it in meant lightly tapping the cutting tool to allow the tool and the collet to seat better together, thus reducing the runout. “With shrink fit as the toolholder element in our overall hard milling process, we never have to re-set up the cutting tool to ‘dial in’ the runout, and we can predict the result of our process down to 0.0001-inch accuracy on the first try.” 

“We never have to re-set up the cutting tool to ‘dial in’ the runout, and we can predict the result of our process down to 0.0001-inch accuracy on the first try.”

In addition to higher runout accuracy, shrink fit also offers improved rigidity over collet systems because there are fewer mechanical parts. This made it possible for Custom Mold to increase its cutting speeds by 10 percent across the board, resulting in a 10 percent reduction in cycle times. 

Furthermore, the Custom Mold and Design team could eliminate the extensive cleaning processes for collets and collet chucks, which greatly reduced the risk of damage. “Many of the metal chips in our milling applications come from steels that are harder than the toolholder and the collet,” Virnig says. “When the collet nut on the toolholder is tightened on chips, the tool holder and collet will be damaged.” When this happens, the harder metal chip will get pushed into the surfaces of the toolholder, and the next time a new tool is loaded, the collet sets on these raised areas causing the collet to tilt, which results in more run out. Switching to shrink-fit toolholders cut Custom Mold’s tool changeover times by 50 percent and thereby increased the team’s utilization of the machine. “We are able to move through the back-log much faster,” Virnig says. “There are no variables causing an operator to check for runout. We basically put the tool in the holder, and it goes into the machine to cut the next part.” 

Shrink Fit Raises Repeatability, Tool Life and Savings

The team at Custom Mold nets significantly more tool life from their end mills by using the Haimer shrink fit system. This is because the same total indicated runout (TIR) accuracy that ensures geometric part accuracy also improves the life of the cutting tool. “With a higher runout accuracy, the cutting load per flute is more evenly distributed. This leads to more even wear to the cutting tool flutes, less chipping or unexpected tool breakage, extending the usable life of the cutting tool,” Drew Strauchen says. “Every degree of runout accuracy that is gained by using shrink fit helps prevent further uneven edge wear, thus extending the life of their high-performance carbide cutting tools.”

Strauchen says that on Haimer’s smaller diameter holders (gauge length less than 160 millimeters), runout is less than 3 microns. For holders larger than 160 millimeters in gauge length, runout is guaranteed to be less than 4 microns. The majority of the company’s holders maintain runout at less than 3 microns. Gregg Virnig says that 98 percent of the holders Custom Mold purchased from Haimer have 0.0001-inch runout right out of the box. “The reduced runout also improves surface finish because the flutes are hitting the part equally, making it possible to maximize feed rates,” he adds.

Custom Mold also uses shrink fit on all cutting tools that are less than 2 millimeters in diameter for roughing. “The even chip load from reduced runout will increase cutter life in rouging tools,” Virnig says. In fact, Custom Mold is still using the first Haimer tools they bought 10 years ago. Each holder has been through hundreds, if not thousands, of shrink cycles, he says, and yet they are performing as if they were new. They show no signs of damage or wear. The team at Custom Mold knows this because the company etches the purchase date on each toolholder. It is this absolute repeatability that helps Custom Mold to run parts lights-out.




Custom Mold & Design is...

Custom Mold & Design is the industry leader for designing and building high-precision, fast cycling molds, machine components, and fixtures.

Serving a wide range of industries including medical, aerospace, consumer products, and electronics, our experienced craftsmen work with the best machinery, tooling, and software, to provide you a single source for all of your molds, maintenance, fixturing, and machined component needs.

Welcome to Custom Mold & Design