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Why Choose Vacuum Casting for Rapid Prototyping?

Views: 49     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-01-14      Origin: Site

Prototyping is the process of creating a model or mock-up version of a design in order to test its feasibility, functionality, or marketability.

The idea is to create something that will show how consumers might use the product before it is manufactured.

Many companies are using rapid prototyping techniques to quickly and cheaply produce multiple variations of prototype designs for testing or marketing purposes.

The most effective way to find out what consumers think about your product is by having them interact with it in person rather than looking at it on paper or a computer screen.

There are many ways of prototyping parts, but vacuum casting is one of the more popular methods.

Vacuum casting will allow you to produce a high-quality part that can be used for functional testing.

This method also gives you the ability to make changes to your prototype without going through the long manufacturing process.

Read on for some of the benefits of vacuum casting, as well as how it compares to other rapid prototyping methods.


Plastic Vacuum casting in Bohao

What is Vacuum Casting?

It's a form of molding that uses liquid polyurethane to create detail-rich prototypes of products such as jewelry, footwear, and medical devices.

The liquid polymer material used in Vacuum Casting has a lower viscosity than silicone or epoxy resins, which allows for easier flow into the molds during the prototype-making process.

The vacuum casting process is commonly used for rapid prototyping because it’s fast, inexpensive, and doesn’t require any special equipment.

Besides, it is also the best replacement where air entrapment is a problem or complex details and undercuts in prototypes are required.

It's perfect for small businesses that don't have access to expensive prototyping machines.

With vacuum casting, you can create prototypes that are accurate representations of your final project without using any type of mold or investment casting.

This makes these prototypes perfect for fit and function testing, marketing, or producing a wide range of final products.


How Does Vacuum Casting Work?

The process of vacuum casting is also known as vented mold casting.

A silicone mold is created, and then a latex or silicone rubber is poured into the mold.

When the liquid completely fills the mold, it is allowed to set.

Then, the air is drawn out of the mixture with an attached vacuum cleaner while the liquid sets.

This produces a solid item that can be detached from the mold.

The process does not use any type of sand or investment casting to create a prototype.

Note:

Inventors should be careful when using this process because it's not heat resistant, which limits materials you can use for your product.

For example, a vacuum cast object made from ceramic will crack when heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

Silicone and latex are generally safe for this type of application because they don't melt at high temperatures.


Vacuum casting at BOhao

The Vacuum Casting Process in Rapid Prototyping:

The process of vacuum casting in rapid prototyping has three notable steps:

1. Creating a Master Model.

2. Create a mold from the original model.

3. Cast the model by pouring resin into the mold and letting it dry for as long as needed before removing the mold.

This process is also known as “pulling” because you pull your final prototype out of the mold once you remove it from your prototype casting chamber.

Now, let’s discuss the vacuum casting process in detail:

Step 1 – Creating a Master Model:

The process starts with creating a master model using 3D printers or Stereolithography (SLA).

This master model is created from the CAD design of the prototype provided by the client.

It is ensured that the model is of the correct dimension and looks to get the best results.

Step 2 – Creating a Mold:

This step involves making a silicone mold using a master pattern.

Here, the master model is mounted inside the casting frame, and silicone is poured around it.

Next, the mold is placed inside the heating chamber for curing.

After curing, the master part is removed.

The mold now has a hollow space within it, which is of exact dimensions as of the master model.

Step 3 – Casting the Model:

Now, the polyurethane resin is poured into the mold.

This is done using a computer-controlled process while the mold is in the vacuum chamber.

The vacuum chamber ensures that most of the bubbles and air pockets are eliminated to achieve the best quality.

Next, the mold with resin is cured inside the heating chamber, after which the silicone mold is removed.

Finally, we are left with an exact copy of the original, which then undergoes the finishing process, like painting or plating.


Characteristics & Applications of Vacuum Casting

There are numerous characteristics and applications of Vacuum casting. Some of them are as under:

Characteristics:

· Products made through the vacuum casting process have good heat resistance, fire retardance, and UV stability.

· Different colors and tints can be added to the vacuum-casted models, along with a range of finishes.

· The client can choose from different polyurethane casting resin grades and have an extensive choice of hardness, flexibility, and rigidity they want in the final product.

Applications:

· Products made through Vacuum Casting have tons of pre-production applications, including Concept models and prototypes, functional testing, marketing, assembly line trails, and thermal and airflow testing.

· Most commercial product manufacturers use vacuum casting to produce sunglasses, pens, food and drink packages, mobile cases, and covers.

· The food and Beverages Industry uses this process to package (plastic bottles and tins) their final product.

· Many household products manufacturers make use of vacuum casting for products like food processing, washing detergents, and cosmetics.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Vacuum casting

Vacuum casting is a fast, inexpensive, and versatile way to create prototypes of your final project.

It's perfect for small business owners who can’t afford expensive prototyping machines.

As with any type of prototyping method, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Here are a few notable benefits of vacuum casting process:

· Fast: You can create a prototype in just 3 hours.

· Inexpensive: A finished prototype costs only about $100-$200.

· Versatile: You can use vacuum casting with many different types of materials, including plastic, metal, wax, ceramic, paper, wood - you name it!

· High Quality: This method produces high-quality products from a wide range of materials. Besides, it also gives you the extensive choice of hardness, flexibility, and rigidity you want in your final products.

Some other benefits include:

· It requires only one stage to produce an accurate representation of your final product without using any type of specialized equipment.

· You can also create prototypes at any scale, so they're more accurate than other methods like the lost-wax process, which can only create scaled-down models with low detail.

· Casting material, especially resin, is easy to work with. You don't need any special tools to vacuum cast parts faster than traditional methods like injection molding or die casting, which require expensive machines or lots of time to get started on production runs.

· Products produced are of high quality with the finest detailing and accuracy, making them ideal for functional testing as well as marketing.

However, there are some disadvantages as well:

· If the shape or size changes after you've created the prototype, you'll need to order a new one. This isn't always economical or practical for small businesses.

· The design needs to be flexible so that it can be removed from the mold without being damaged.

If these drawbacks don't bother you too much, but you still want to create an accurate representation of your final project without using any type of mold or investment casting, then vacuum casting might work for you!


Why choose Vacuum Casting for Rapid Prototyping?

Vacuum casting is a process that allows you to make a prototype of your design rapidly without the use of a mold or investment casting.

In other words, it's fast, inexpensive, and doesn't require any special equipment.

Besides, the prototypes produced are of high quality with even the minute surface details from the original model.

The finished prototypes can further be printed, painted, or machined to improve their functionality and appearance.

It's perfect for small businesses that don't have access to expensive prototyping machines.

If you're looking for a rapid prototyping option that will provide accurate representations of your final project, vacuum casting might be just what you need.

Boenrapid has the state-of-the-art facility to offer a great vacuum casting solution for rapid prototypes and other applications.

Besides, they also offer manufacturing, CNC machining, Casting, injection molding, and small-production volume services.

With our advanced machinery, decades of experience, well-trained and qualified staff, finishing services, and quality inspection, you'll get the finest quality parts at a competitive price.

Contact us for further details or upload your CAD design files now for a free quotation.


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