Vacuum casting is a technology which we use to manufacture short series (20-500 pcs.) of plastic parts, made from high quality polyurethanes in a matter of days. The biggest advantage is that there is no need to create highly complicated molds and tools (which is a very slow and expensive process) and the result is perfect strength and look & feel ready for your end users. When you need parts that exactly replicate your final product, vacuum casting is the right choice.
Since the parts are cast in a mold, their strength and properties are predictable. We have a wide range of materials, which should satisfy all your needs – materials very close to ABS, Nylon, PP and other polymers, rubber-like, water clear, etc.. A pigment may be added prior to molding to achieve the desired color of choice.
The process prior actual production of short series usually takes around 3-4 days. First we need to create a master which will be used to create the silicone mold. This is usually done by 3D printing the master prototype with the highest quality technology possible in order to get perfect looking surfaces. This process takes approximately 2-3 days and then we start making the silicone mold, which takes 1 more day. By using this technology you can get your first 10-15 parts in less than a week.
Here are the steps needed for making short series parts with vacuum casting:
- Creating the 3D CAD model of the detail (not needed if you have the actual part)
- 3D printing a master prototype with high quality and surface finish (not needed if you have the actual part)
- Post finishing of the master prototype, if needed – sanding, polishing, etc.
- Making the silicone mold using the 3D printed master prototype
- Casting the polyurethane in the silicone mold in a special vacuum casting machine
The silicone mold’s life may vary between 10-50 pieces depending on the materials before it starts degrading. Usually we can start casting right after the silicone mold is ready and produce around 10-15 pieces a day. If more parts are needed, we can always make more than one mold and cut the delivery time significantly.