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Mar 5, 2022, 07:35 PM 91 read

Benefits of vacuum casting for rapid prototyping


If you want to know what is the most cost-effective way to make a prototype, it may be time to focus on vacuum casting Vacuum pouring - sometimes called polyurethane or polyurethane pouring - was first developed in Europe in the 1960s and has since become one of the most widely used technologies for developing plastic prototypes. Vacuum casting is a flexible and effective method to manufacture high-quality rapid prototyping and end-use parts in small quantities, and it is much faster than other manufacturing processes.   The process uses flowable die casting resin and silica gel mold (which can be reused up to 20 times) to make a perfect copy of the master model. These copies are useful in many ways, including functional testing, engineering testing, product development, business model, and so on. Let's take a closer look at the benefits of vacuum casting for rapid prototyping and why you might consider using it in your next prototyping project.   Vacuum casting technology in rapid prototyping Master model Polyurethane vacuum casting starts with a master model, which itself is a prototype made of strong and durable materials. These models are usually produced using 3D printing or processing because these methods are fast, do not require separate tools, and can be easily modified as needed to adapt to design changes.   After the model is made, it must be carefully prepared before it can be copied. This preparation usually includes grinding, polishing and painting to achieve a perfect surface finish. For multiple parts that may be assembled, we also conduct suitability tests and minor adjustments to ensure a clean and sealed appearance.   Mold manufacturing Once the molds are ready, they are put into a casting box and filled with liquid silica gel. After curing in the oven for several hours, the silica gel solidifies and the pouring box can be removed. We carefully cut the mold along the predetermined suture and remove the template. This leaves a cavity in the exact image of the original.   Vacuum casting To copy the master model, the mold must be closed again, this time with a feed pipe leading to the cavity. Pour the liquid polyurethane resin into the mold, and then place the mold in the vacuum chamber. The purpose of vacuum is to extract air from the cavity, remove bubbles, and force the resin into the whole space. The mold is then heated in a resin hardened oven. By reopening the mold, a perfect copy of the original can be obtained.These are the basic steps. But how does this help you succeed in your next project?   Standard technical specifications Delivery time - 2 to 3 working weeks. Accuracy: ISO 2768 MK. Minimum wall thickness - to ensure proper filling of the mold, a wall thickness of 0.75mm is recommended. For best results, choose a wall thickness of at least 1.5mm. Maximum part size - your mold size is limited by the size of the vacuum chamber and the volume of the product. In 3D print, the maximum size is 2000 x 1000 x 600 mm. Typical quantity - 20 pieces per die.   Main advantages of rapid prototyping vacuum casting 1. Quality The casting is of excellent quality and can easily reproduce the finer surface details of the original. This is why it is so important to prepare the master model carefully. Vacuum casting creates high-quality copies with excellent surface details. The finished copy can be painted, printed or processed as needed to improve its appearance and function. People new to this service are often surprised by the fidelity of the original, which can easily be mistaken for plastic injection molded parts.   2. Speed Compared with the time required to manufacture hard steel tools for mass production, depending on the size and quality of your parts, parts can be prepared and delivered within 2 to 3 weeks from the date of order. This can be a key factor if you try to meet tight deadlines, such as preparing exhibition models for upcoming trade shows or crowdfunding events.   3. Versatility There are many casting resins that replicate the appearance, feel and mechanical properties of most standard thermoforming resins, such as nylon, ABS or polyethylene. This means you don't have to sacrifice functionality for speed or convenience. For more options, different types of polyurethane can be overmolded to create different surface textures and hardness in a single unit.   4. Profitability Once the master model is ready, vacuum casting is the most economical way to make high-quality copies. This is because the money is not invested in the manufacture of hard tools, rather than plastic injection molding or die casting. The savings can be invested in new product development or further design iterations.   In addition, the process uses much less power than injection molding, die casting or machining. Otherwise, the cost will be passed on to the customer. Overall, the savings in tools, materials, energy and labor costs are considerable.

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