Sprues, runners, and gates in plastic injection molding
In injection molding, sprue refers to the passage through which a liquid material (such as polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride) flows into a die, where the material solidifies to form parts. Sprue also refers to the material that solidifies in these passages, forming a framework that attaches the parts in a roughly planar arrangement.
Sprues, runners, and gates
Some moldmakers distinguish the sprue, the gate, and the runner. The sprue is a large-diameter channel through which plastic flows, usually around the edges of the part or along straight lines. The runner is a smaller channel from the sprue to the individual part. An analogy may be found in a water system that employs a water main (sprue) and smaller pipes (runners) to individual houses. The gate is the location at which the molten plastic enters the mold cavity and is often evidenced by a small nub or projection (the "gate mark") on the molded piece.
Many scale-model kits are made from injection-molded plastic. Hobbyists typically remove the parts of a model kit from the runner using a sharp craft knife or razor saw. The sprues usually form a rectangle with the runners and parts inside which makes them easier to box.
Sprues in model kits often include engravings to identify the parts by number.
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