Hand mould
A hand mould is a simple mould used for low quantity work. It is used in the injection moulding
Injection moulding
Injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic materials. Material is fed into a heated barrel, mixed, and forced into a mold cavity where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the cavity...

 and the printing industry.


In the printing industry, a hand mould specifically refers to a two-part mould used for casting
In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process...

 hand-made type
Sort (typesetting)
In typesetting by hand compositing, a sort is a piece of type representing a particular letter or symbol, cast from a matrix mould and assembled with other sorts bearing additional letters into lines of type to make up a forme from which a page is printed.-See also:* History of western typography*...

. Inside the mould is a matrix
Matrix (printing)
In hot metal typesetting, a matrix is a mold for casting a letter, known as a sort, used in letterpress printing....


In particular, it refers to a system for casting movable type
Movable type
Movable type is the system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document ....

, pioneered by Johannes Gutenberg, which was widely used in the early era of printing in Europe (15th-16th century).

In this method, the type was made by punching a letter-shaped cavity in a matrix made of some soft metal (typically copper). Then this matrix would be held in the lower part of the mould, the upper part would close on it, and molten type metal would be poured into the cavity. Using the hand mould, the printer could quickly make any additional type he might need.

Injection moulding

In injection moulding, hand moulds refer to simple moulds that have no provision for heat, cooling, or ejection. This means when a hand mould is cycled universal heating plates are required to warm the moulds and the moulds must be removed after each cycle to remove the mouldings. This drastically increases the cycle time, which limits it to short runs, but to offset this is the low cost of the mould. They are usually single cavity moulds, but may be multi-cavity if the moulding is quite small. They are usually only of a two or three plate design because of the simplicity of the parts. If only a short run is required then the moulds may be made from aluminum or brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

, but if more parts are required then they are made from conventional steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...


Bullet casting

Hand cast bullet
Cast bullet
A cast bullet is made by allowing molten metal to solidify in a mould. Most cast bullets are made of lead alloyed with tin and antimony; but zinc alloys have been used when lead is scarce, and may be used again in response to concerns about lead toxicity...

s remain popular with the handloading
Handloading or reloading is the process of loading firearm cartridges or shotgun shells by assembling the individual components , rather than purchasing completely assembled, factory-loaded cartridges...

, muzzleloading
A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the projectile and usually the propellant charge is loaded from the muzzle of the gun . This is distinct from the more popular modern designs of breech-loading firearms...

 and small custom ammunition loading communities. In a tradition dating back to the beginning of firearms, molds matched to the bore
Gauge (bore diameter)
The gauge of a firearm is a unit of measurement used to express the diameter of the barrel. Gauge is determined from the weight of a solid sphere of lead that will fit the bore of the firearm, and is expressed as the multiplicative inverse of the sphere's weight as a fraction of a pound . Thus...

 (and the chamber for breech loading weapons) are custom made for each weapon. Anywhere from one to six cavities are carved into the molding block, along with appropriate gates and sprue
A sprue may refer to:*Sprue , a feature in molding and casting molds*Coeliac disease, also known as sprue, a disease of the small intestine*Tropical sprue, disease*Sprue Asparagus, first pickings of asparagus...

s. As the blocks are now usually made out of aluminum, which does not allow lead alloys to stick, only a small amount of parting compound is needed.
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