silicone prototyping,vacuum casting

Vacuum Casting

Vacuum Casting/Silicone Prototyping Company

X Rapid Technologies, an expert silicone prototyping company, offers a vacuum casting service that is high in efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.

What is Vacuum Casting and how does it work?

X Rapid Technologies is the best silicone molding company that develops high-quality silicone prototyping parts out of vacuum casting to provide accurate part replicas and consistent mechanical properties.

Nowadays, silicone molding company are offering high-quality silicone prototyping parts out of vacuum casting to provide accurate replicas of different models. Silicone prototyping is the silicone mold best from the product prototype using vacuum casting to produce the same replica. Vacuum casting uses similar materials such as ABS, PU, transparent PU to make the same parts in the vacuum environment. Silicone prototyping parts using vacuum casting can produce the same strength and hardness as mass production products and with the same colors as well. X Rapid Technologies is the top silicone molding company that offers various high-quality silicone prototyping parts with vacuum casting.

What Is Vacuum Casting?

It is a casting process that uses a vacuum to extract liquid materials and turn them into mold. Usually, if the air entrapment is having a problem with the mold, then this method is used. Also, if there are any intricate details and undercuts on the mold, you can use this method to fix it. Silicone molding company use rapid prototyping where the plastic sheets are preheated. This is why it's often called thermoforming. The preheated materials get dropped in an automated vacuum casting machine to make them soft and pliable.

How does a silicone molding company use vacuum casting to make silicone prototyping parts?

Silicon molding company follow the following steps to make silicone prototyping parts or rubber parts:

Step 1) Making master designs:

First, you need to create a master model of your CAD designs. The master will be a 3D model made by CNC machining or with 3D Printing. After that, the next move is to make a silicone mold of the model.

Step 2) Make the mold:

In this step, Casting molds are made from liquid silicone. Here, casting boxes are half-filled with silicone, and then the box gets heated up until the silicone is completely cured. Leave the cure inside an oven for 16 hours. Take it out and let it dry. After that, cut the mod in half and remove the master.

Step 3) Make the parts:

Lastly, pour the casting resins into the empty cavity and make an accurate replica of the master model. You can create more than 20 replicas with ease.

Why choose Vacuum Casting?

Silicon prototyping parts are much better in quality compared to injection-molded components. That's why vacuum casted models are perfect for testing and marketing purposes or to decide upon the final product.

The best silicone molding company helps to

create more innovative designs with fine details.

What are the applications of vacuum casting?

Silicone molding company produces and sells high-quality silicone prototyping parts to various industries. Such as

1)Consumer product manufacturers use vacuum casting to produce pens, sunglasses, and other sanitary products. Some cosmetic packages, hairbrushes, and combs are also made using this process.

2)Food and beverage industries also use this process to make food packages, bottles, food containers, cans, mugs, cutleries, and glasses.

3)Electronic industry uses silicone prototyping parts to make different electronic devices and their outer parts.

Which silicone molding company should you choose?

X Rapid Technologies has the best silicone prototyping technicians who carefully control the full process, from mixing, de-bubbling, stirring, preheating, injection to the solidification of the PU resin and rubber. That's why we are the best silicone molding company that guarantees minimal shrinkage and fine details.

Based on the silicone mold made from a product prototype (master), vacuum casting or urethane casting produces the same parts in the vacuum environment using polyurethane (PU) materials with similar properties to ABS, PC, PMMA, soft rubber, and more. The parts possess the same strength and hardness as mass production products, even with the colors required. With its replicability, vacuum casting is not only for producing prototypes but also low volume production of plastic and soft rubber products.

Our silicone prototyping technicians carefully control all operational parameters: from mixing, de-bubbling, stirring, preheating, and injection, to the solidification of the PU material and rubber, thus guaranteeing minimal shrinkage and fine details. At X Rapid Technologies, silicone prototyping parts made by vacuum casting show accurate part replication and consistent mechanical properties. They can be deliverable within a short lead time. 

Advantages of vacuum casting

·  Low cost and relatively short product production cycle. Less waste of material. The processing cost is also much lower than CNC machining and 3D printing.

·  Suitable for short-run production. After making a master, it can be copied via silicone mold very rapidly, while CNC machining can only manufacture parts one at a time.

·  Easy molding process. Cured soft silicone molds are transparent or translucent, have good tensile strength, and are easy to cut and separate.

·  Small chance of processing failure. Reproduction is unlikely to go wrong if the master is in order.

·  Good repeatability. A mold made of silicone has good fluidity before curing, and after vacuum de-bubbling, the part retains its detailed features.

Disadvantages of vacuum casting

·  There is a possibility of deformation due to shrinkage. Silicone prototyping parts shrink after cooling following high-temperature heating, resulting in deformation.

·  Not resistant to high temperatures, the silicone prototyping parts can generally only withstand a high temperature of about 60 degrees centigrade.

·  The strength and hardness of the silicone prototyping parts are lower than that of CNC machined ones.

Vacuum casting working processes

1.  Make the master part via CNC machining or SLA 3D printing.

2.  Enclose the master part with wooden boards, preparing for making the silicone mold.

3.  Pour the liquid silicone, which has been vacuumed with a vacuum machine, to cover the master. 

4.  Bake it in the oven to accelerate the curing of the silicone mold.

5.  Take the master part out of the silicone mold.

6.  Vacuum and pour the raw material to make a copy of the master part.

7.  Demold and take out the copied part.

8.  Finishing as required.

When do I need vacuum casting?

Consider the materials and quantities for rapid prototyping manufacturing. Vacuum casting can only make plastic and soft rubber parts. Vacuum casting is not the most economical option when the quantity is very low, such as 1 piece. Because we need to make a master via CNC machining or 3D printing to make the silicone mold. And one silicone mold lasts 15-20 shots. The more you produce, the more costs of silicone mold you can offset.

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silicone prototyping,vacuum casting
High Efficiency

15 - 20 parts can be produced by one silicone mold, which shortens the lead time.

silicone prototyping,vacuum casting
Integrally-formed

Most silicone prototyping parts can be formed integrally in one piece with good strength.

silicone prototyping,vacuum casting
Varied Materials

Besides manufacturing different plastic parts, vacuum casting can also make soft rubber silicone prototyping parts.

Material Options

Different PU series, similar to ABS, PC, PMMA, PP, POM, soft rubber, etc

Recommended reading

What are the primary rapid prototyping types?

We are a china rapid prototyping company, offering primarily four rapid prototyping types. These are CNC machining, vacuum casting, 3D printing, and rapid injection molding prototyping (RIM).

What Is Precision Prototyping Machining?

The process of removing material from a sheet or block of material to form desired shapes is referred to as precision manufacturing. Precision prototyping machining relies on computer numerical control (CNC) machines to cut parts to exact specifications, unlike in the early days when hammers and blades were used to fabricate parts.

Which technologies are used to prototype plastic parts?

For short-run production, vacuum casting is the best technology to prototype plastic parts. Two materials are used to prototype parts by using this technology 

What is Rapid Prototype Development?

The Rapid prototype development process is a set of strategies companies use to create a product prototype using computer-aided technology (CAD). These prototypes are later being tested for final product approval or product validation. Through the Rapid prototype development process, you can create multiple versions of a single prototype in a short amount of time and test them to see which one can be chosen as the final product. It helps to decline a huge amount of time in the product development process.

X Rapid Technologies- the one-stop solution for prototyping products

No matter which prototyping process you are willing to use for making the prototypes of your product, we are here at your service to provide you with the best. Whether CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, or any other process is suitable for your product, our highly experienced and skilled technicians will provide you with an accurate prototype of the product that can reflect the end-use product perfectly. We have been prototyping different products for years and know which technology on which material will be best for your product so that the product can beat its competitors in the market.

Medical device products: automatic nucleic acid molecular hybridization instrument - X Rapid Technologies (Shenzhen) Limited

Vacuum casting, provided by a custom silicone mold manufacturer, is usually the most optimal and economical machining method for making a batch of large-sized plastic parts.

Rapid Tooling Cases - X Rapid Technologies (Shenzhen) Limited

Thinking of making a mold for self-use? Or wanting to produce small batches of end-use plastic products? Or just wanting to do rapid prototype development? Try rapid tooling. ABS molds, silicone molds, aluminum molds, and steel molds are of your choice.

What is CNC machining Prototyping?

CNC machining prototyping is a process that is operated with the help of a computer as pre numerical data has been put in the machine. Typically, the CAM/CAD software is used that helps the users of the machine to develop necessary designs. The software also helps the computer in controlling the movement of the tools. The computer is also able to operate various machine tools such as drills and lathes for helping to achieve the desired result. 

What is SLA Printing?

SLA printing service or stereolithography printing is a part of the active manufacturing technologies popularly known as vat photopolymerization or Resin 3D Printing. The printing machines are built around a similar principle that involves using a source of light like a projector or laser to cure and mold the liquid resin to give the shape of hardened plastic. The only difference between SLA printing technology and the others depends entirely on how the core components are arranged, like the build platform, the source of light, and the resin stored tank.

Highest Tolerances

±0.05mm

Vacuum Casting FAQs

For plastic prototypes by vacuum casting, the finishings can be de-burring, polishing (PMMA-like parts), painting, electroplating, laser engraving, silk screening, etc. All those surface treatments available for plastic parts can be done to vacuum-cast plastic prototypes.

There is no MOQ for X Rapid Technologies. As a prototype creator, we offer one-off prototypes and small-batch production. However, vacuum casting is more cost-effective when the quantity is about or more than 5 pieces. Don’t worry. We will help you make the choice based on your certain requirements.

Compared to CNC machining and 3D printing, vacuum casting usually takes longer. Because it involves the process of making the silicone mold. As a prototype creator offering custom rapid prototyping services, we will calculate the specific lead time for each project during the quotation period. In case you want to make it faster, be sure to let us know.

For silicone prototyping, please send us files in CAD, STP, STEP, IGS, or X_T format.

Sure. You can take a look at our previous vacuum casting cases on our Case Studies page. For more pictures of silicone prototyping parts, you are welcome to contact your 1-on-1 project manager.