PRESERIES WITH SILICONES MOULD
Vacuum Casting and Pre-series
Vacuum casting is normally used to create low volume pre-series of prototypes by using a single master mould. Production pre-series are used for engineering testing, concept proofing and evaluation of the final product. Today a vast number of materials are available to reproduce desired surface texture.
The mould is made from silicone rubber. Typical quantities for pre-series can run up to 25 to 50 copies by using a stereolithography or other material’s master. The materials used for the replicas can be manifold: they can range from traditional injection-moulded thermoplastic resin (e.g. ABS, Nylon, PC, etc.), to soft rubber-like resin or to transparent resin. The printed part can be reused inside another mould to obtain co-moulded objects with two or more different types of materials. For example rubber can be co-moulded with plastic or two plastic resins with different characteristics. These parts have the same finishing that can be obtained with definitive production tools.
Vacuum casting is cost effective and produces characteristics comparable to the final product. For example prototypes can be made transparent, translucent or fully opaque. Therefore the prototypes are often used in marketing at trade fairs to demonstrate and to test desired characteristics. In response to customer reports modifications can still be made in the design process to provide more user friendly solutions.
Pre-series using RP machines
Another possibility for pre-series is to use rapid prototyping, typically SLS machines. This technique does not require masters or special equipment. The latest SLS generation is extremely fast, uses 100% compact materials very close to the final and more often allows eliminating the pilot-mould. SLS technology is ideal when creating complex shapes and geometries of medium or small size design.
- Parts to test the production line and check any problems
- Marketing purposes
- Tests to improve the project
To obtain a pre-series there are several alternatives, such as the silicone mold, the RP machines and in some cases the mechanical machining. In all these cases at SB3 we provide our customers with the most advanced technologies, for a more satisfactory time / quality / price ratio.