Vacuum casting and silicone mould manufacturing are two common techniques used in the production of small batches or prototype parts.
Vacuum casting, also known as urethane casting or polyurethane casting, is a rapid prototyping and small-scale manufacturing process that allows for the creation of high-quality parts using silicone molds. It is especially useful when producing small quantities of complex parts that would be costly or time-consuming to manufacture through traditional injection molding processes. Here’s how the vacuum casting process works:
- Master Pattern Creation – The first step is to create a master pattern using various techniques such as 3D printing, CNC machining, or hand sculpting. The master pattern is the exact replica of the part you want to produce.
- Silicone Mould Making – A silicone mould is created around the master pattern. The silicone material is flexible and can capture intricate details, making it ideal for replicating complex parts.
- Once the silicone mold is ready, it is placed in a casting chamber or vacuum chamber.
- Casting – A two-part liquid polyurethane resin or similar material is poured into the mould.
The casting chamber is then put under a vacuum to remove any air bubbles, ensuring a smooth and uniform result.
- Curing – The resin cures and hardens within the silicone mould. The curing time depends on the specific material used.
Silicone Mold Manufacturing:
Silicone mold manufacturing is a technique used to create molds for various applications, including casting resin, concrete, wax, soap, and other materials. This process is widely used in arts and crafts, architectural model-making, and small-scale production.
- Model Preparation – Prepare the original model or part that you want to reproduce. It can be made from clay, wax, 3D printed material, or any other suitable material.
- Mold Box Construction – Build a box around the model to act as a containment structure for the liquid silicone.
- Silicone Mixing and Pouring – Prepare the silicone material according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour it over the model within the mold box. The silicone will flow around the model, capturing all the details.
- Curing – Allow the silicone to cure and harden. The curing time will depend on the specific silicone used.
Vacuum casting is more suitable for creating small batches of high-quality, functional parts with complex details,
while silicone moulds are versatile and used in various artistic and small-scale production applications.