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Urethane and Silicone Casting Services

by: Feb 20,2024 344 Views 0 Comments Posted in Vacuum Casting

Silicone mold production Prototypes Small batch samples Development cycle Product casings Experimental verification Industrial design Structural integrity Mold structure Mass production Steel molds High-volume production Injection molding Mold separation line Mold formation Vacuum casting machine Bubble-free casting High-temperature oven

Summary:       Low Volume, Durable Parts with Production-Level Quality

Silicone Mold Production Process

Silicone molds are commonly used in the production of prototypes or small batch samples. The main advantage of silicone mold production is its speed, which can significantly shorten the development cycle. Silicone molds are used to produce a small batch of 10 to 100 sets of product casings for experimental purposes during the product development process. Additionally, various performance tests such as waterproofing, antistatic properties, sun protection, salt spray resistance, and aging resistance can be conducted on the molded products.

Differences between Silicone Molds and Mass Production Steel Molds

Silicone molds are primarily used for experimental verification before mass production. For instance, they are used in industrial design to finalize the product structure, validate the structural integrity of the product design, and ensure the mold structure is suitable before mass production. Steel molds, on the other hand, are used for high-volume production, such as when a product requires tens or millions of units to be produced through injection molding.

The Silicone Mold Production Process

Justway will now share the complete process of silicone mold production. The process begins with an industrial design product concept, often referred to as 3D data or 3D drawings. Justway utilizes professional engineering software to convert the 3D data into instructions for 3D printing or CNC machining. The 3D data is processed on a 3D printer or CNC machining center to create a prototype that perfectly matches the 3D data. This prototype, also known as a sample or "proof of concept," undergoes meticulous manual refinement by skilled craftsmen. Quality inspections are conducted to ensure the prototype matches the 3D data precisely, marking the completion of the preliminary stage of silicone mold production.

Next, the silicone mold production process begins.

The prototype is supported by two to three wooden rods attached to a base plate, with a clearance of 20 to 50 millimeters between the prototype and the base. Yellow adhesive tape is applied around the perimeter of the prototype, serving as the mold separation line for subsequent steps. Once the prototype is supported and the tape is applied, a wooden or plastic board is used to enclose the prototype, leaving a 20-50 millimeter gap around its perimeter. Additional support is added around the prototype to ensure proper mold formation. This completes the mold frame assembly.

Afterward, liquid silicone is poured into the mold, covering the prototype to a height of 20-50 millimeters. A vacuum casting machine is used to remove the air from the mold, ensuring a bubble-free casting. The mold is then placed in a high-temperature oven and baked for 2 hours. Once the baking process is complete, the mold is manually opened using specialized tools, following the separation line marked by the yellow adhesive tape. The silicone mold is cut into two halves, and the prototype is removed. This completes the formation of the silicone mold. The subsequent step involves the production of small batches of replicated products.

This is how silicone molds and their corresponding products are produced. For further information, please contact Justway Rapid Prototyping!

Silicone Mold-related Knowledge

Silicone molds are widely used in various industries for their flexibility, durability, and ability to reproduce intricate details. Here are some key terms and concepts related to silicone molds:

Silicone: Silicone is a synthetic polymer material known for its flexibility, heat resistance, and non-stick properties. It is commonly used for making molds due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and release molded objects easily.

Mold Making: The process of creating a mold by pouring liquid silicone over a master pattern or object to capture its shape and details.

Master Pattern: The original object or model from which the mold will be made. It can be made of various materials such as clay, wax, or 3D-printed plastic.

Mold Design: The planning and preparation of the mold, including determining the mold's size, shape, and the number of parts it will produce.

Mold Release Agent: A substance applied to the master pattern to prevent the silicone from sticking to it during the mold-making process.

Two-Part Mold: A mold consisting of two or more separate parts that are joined together to create the mold cavity. This allows for easier demolding of the final product.

Pouring and Curing: The process of pouring the liquid silicone into the mold and allowing it to cure or solidify. Curing can be achieved through various methods, such as air drying or using a curing agent or catalyst.

Demolding: The process of removing the cured silicone mold from the master pattern or the molded object from the silicone mold.

Mold Lifespan: The number of times a silicone mold can be used before it starts to degrade or lose its ability to produce high-quality molds.

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