Rapid prototyping soft parts

Rapid prototyping soft parts

We prototype parts as close to reality as possible using a wide range of materials, finishes, and applications. In order to get as close as possible to series parts, we offer in particular the production of soft parts using flexible materials. In plastics processing, the family of elastomers is called TPE. This group of materials includes, for example, EPDMs that make it possible to simulate rubber. We offer different degrees of Shore, ranging from 40A to 90A.

Definition of Shore degrees

In rapid prototyping, the hardness of plastic parts is measured by the Shore hardness scale. While about a dozen exist, measures A and D are the most used in rapid prototyping. The Shore D scale is mainly used for semirigid and hard parts and the A scale for soft parts. In this category, the closer the number is to zero, the softer the plastic parts will be. The Shore degree is measured by means of a tool called a durometer. Here are some examples of hardness: 90A corresponds to a car tire, 80A to rubber, and 60A to elastic.

Applications of flexible parts

Flexible parts are used for many applications in rapid prototyping. For example, soft materials can be used for the purpose of producing shock-absorbing products. Thus, flexible protective parts such as kneepads can be made of elastomer. On the other hand, flexible parts can be used to provide a sealing effect. Flexible parts are also required to prototype watches or bracelets, so as to obtain a spring effect. In addition, the surfaces of this type of part are non-slip. The different levels of Shore also provide a different, more or less soft feel. It is also possible to simulate the overmolding of a soft part made of an elastomer in a part made of hard plastic.

Prototech solutions

We are able to manufacture flexible prototypes and small series of plastic parts from an elastomer. These parts can be produced using vacuum casting technology. Thus, we can produce flexible parts in quantities ranging from 1 to 200 copies. Our workshop is capable of producing prototypes of soft parts that are visual, functional and with excellent finishes. For example, the parts below were made inshore 60 and 70. The first part is a bracelet with a RAL 4010 paint finish. The second photo corresponds to the production of a set of 20 waterproof flexible parts. A case study detailing this project is available here.

Parts in shore 60

Parts in shore 70



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Comments (4)

  • Allison in Philadelphia PA Reply

    What does the surface of the parts feel like? What is the range of durometers? May I get some samples? Do you offer printing services or only sell the machines?

    20 July 2018 at 14 h 50 min
    • Prototech Reply

      Hello there,

      The surface of the parts is polished so very esthetical.
      The range is from 20 to 90 degrees.
      We can arrange samples to your address, please confirm your delivery address.

      We do not sell prototyping machines, we only produce parts with our four technologies:
      – 3D Printing
      – Vacuum casting
      – CNC machining
      – Thermoplastic injection

      Please find attached our brochure and presentation to know more about this,

      Have a great day,
      The Prototech team

      21 July 2018 at 14 h 30 min
  • Khadija from abu dhabi Reply

    Dear sir, madam,

    I am looking for a rapid prototype. I would like to know what kind of information/specs do you exactly need to manufacture a rapid prototype. How long does the process usually take? and what are the costs?

    Thank you in advance and kind regards,

    K. Kabli

    22 April 2018 at 15 h 02 min
    • Prototech Reply

      Dear K. Kabli,

      Many thanks for your comment,
      In order to provide you an accurate quote we will need to analyze your 3D drawings (Ideally STEP format) of the parts to produce linked with the BOM to meet all your requirements. The production take about a week for small series and two weeks for larger quantities. The costs depends a lot on the material, finishing, painting, etc… As each project is individual, we don’t have general costs to provide.

      Do not hesitate to consult us for your project !

      Have a great day,

      The Prototech Team

      23 April 2018 at 3 h 59 min


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