What is Vacuum Casting? And How Vacuum Casting Benefits Your CompanyCharles Leveillee
If you are wondering which is the most economical way to make any prototype? Then you should try vacuum casting. In vacuum casting, you’re require to have the correct optimum temperatures when curing the materials.
For resin, you require 30 degrees Celsius to minimize shrinkage at vacuum pressure time of 5 min and a mold temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.
Vacuum casting is the same as duplication using a silicon mold. Plastic vacuum casting using silicon molds was developed in the 1960s in German universities.
How does a vacuum casting benefit your company? Keep reading this article to find out.
1. What Is Vacuum Casting?
This is a casting process for elastomers which uses a vacuum to draw any liquid material into the mold. Vacuum casting is used when air entrapment is a problem with the mold.
Additionally, the process can be used when there are intricate details and undercuts on the mold. Also, it is applied if the material used to make the mold is fiber or a reinforced wire.
The process is sometimes called thermoforming because the manufacturing process involves rapid prototyping where the plastic sheets are preheated. The materials are preheated in an automated vacuum casting machine until they are soft and pliable.
2. How Does Vacuum Casting Work?
Vacuum casting follows a process which is used to make the final product.
• Have A High-Quality Master Model
Vacuum casting process requires you to have a high-quality master model. The high-quality master model can be the industrial part itself. Additionally, you can use a model created using stereolithography, which is a case for the prototyping applications.
You should always ensure that the master model being used is of the correct dimensions and looks. This is to ensure that no flaws are transferred to the model prototype after finishing the process.
• Cure Process
The master model is then encapsulated into a two-part silicone rubber mold. The mold is cured under high temperatures to ensure that the two parts stick together. This is used to strengthen the mold and make it more durable.
After the mold is cured, it is cut open to reveal a hollow space at the center, which has the exact dimensions of the master model. After the mold is cut into two, it is placed in the vacuum chamber. Then, later on, the mold is filled with the designated material to make a product.
• Filling The Resin
You should fill the mold with the designated material. The resin replicates the characteristics of industrial material. The resin material is usually mixed with metallic powder or any coloring pigment to achieve aesthetic or specific functional properties.
After the mold is filled with the resin material, it is placed in the vacuum chamber. It is placed in the vacuum chamber to ensure that there are no air bubbles in the mold. This is to ensure that the final product is not ruined or damaged.
• Final Cured Process
The resin is placed in the oven for the final cured stage. The mold is cured in high temperatures to ensure that the material is strong and durable. The silicone mold is removed from the mold so that it can be used in making more prototypes.
After the prototype is removed from the mold, it is painted and decorated. The painting and designs are used to ensure that the product has a gorgeous final look.
3. Benefits Of Vacuum Casting
The following are advantages of using vacuum casting on duplicating products.
• High Precision And Fine Detail To The Finished Product
When you are using silicone as the mold to your products. It ensures that the final product has great attention to the details. The final product ends up looking like the original product.
Every attention to detail is considered and taken into account. Even when the original product has the most complex geometry, the final product looks like the original.
• High Quality Of The Product
The products made using the vacuum casting method are of high quality. Also, the use of resin allows you to choose the right material to be used in making of the final product.
This allows you to have a wider choice of flexibility, hardness and rigidity you want in your products. Also, this has a great influence on the final appearance of the product since the material used plays a major role.
• Lowers The Production Costs
Using the vacuum casting process to make the product is more economical. This is because the process uses silicon to make the molds. Silicone is affordable as compared to aluminum or steel and makes great final products.
Moreover, the material allows you to make more products from the mold. This makes this process more cost effective as compared to the use of 3D printing.
• A Great Method When You Want To Meet A Deadline
This method is fast, and it takes you less time to finish making the finish products. You can take seven to ten days to make around 50 functioning prototype parts.
This method is amazing when you are making a lot of products. Additionally, it is great when you are working towards meeting a deadline.
4. Uses Of Vacuum Casting
Vacuum casting is used in the food and beverage industry to make bottles and tins. It is also used in commercial products and household products.
• Food and Beverages
The food and drinks industry uses this product for packaging of their final products. Vacuum casting can be used in making plastic bottles and tins.
Since this process can be used to make products faster and on a large scale, it is preferred in most of these industries.
• Commercial Products
This process is used to make commercial products that can be used in packaging. Most of the products that are made using this process include sunglasses, mobile cases, food and drinks packaging, and pens. This method creates employment for people who want to venture in the selling off some of these products.
• Household Products
Some household products are made using the vacuum casting process. Everyday products like washing detergents, food processing, and cosmetics are made using this process.
If you get your products from high-quality companies, there are high chances that they use the vacuum casting process to make the products.
Bottom Line on Vacuum Casting
Vacuum casting is more economical as compared to 3D printing or molding injection. This allows you to produce more products at less cost. Click here and find out more about vacuum casting and silicone molds done using this amazing technology.