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The Key Role That Vacuum Casting Plays in Product Development
by Nice Rapid | Feb 21,2021 | Vacuum Casting

Another important manufacturing technique that is quite popular with rapid prototyping is known as vacuum casting. This manufacturing technique is mainly used to make complicated and complex parts and products that have no air entrapment. The entire process entails using a vacuum that pushes the material into a flexible mold.

Vacuum casting is a process that mainly involves two components to manufacture a part or product: silicone mold and polyurethanes. Besides prototyping, it’s also utilized to bridge production from prototypes to low-volume manufacturing.

Vacuum casting is quite essential especially in the prototyping segment of product development due to its accuracy and speed. It quite effective especially when it comes to the creation of an existing model that can be used in the replication of the same model as the original

For this post, we are going to briefly talk about the benefits of vacuum casting, its processes, and the ways it's a beneficial technique that's used in rapid prototyping.

Vacuum Casting Process

The vacuum casting technique was first introduced in Europe in the 1960s, its inception was used in the former German Democratic Department by merging a conservative and well-organized and technology. The manufacturing process was then picked up by the Japanese which were used in automotive parts manufacturing.

Vacuum casting is normally a two-step process: the making of the mold using the master pattern and vacuum casting.

- Master Pattern

One of the first and most important steps in the making of the master pattern, its prototype made from a durable and solid material. The master is mostly made using 3D printing or CNC machining. Both of the processes are quite effective and efficient and the good this is the fact that it doesn’t require separate tooling. As a result, this process is quite quick to accommodate changes and factor in improvements

The master pattern must be meticulously created before its finally copied. One of the widely used preparation methods used includes sanding, polishing, and painting to get the perfect finishing. For parts and products that have different parts, these pieces must be tested to see if they fit together. Minor adjustments have to be factored in to ensure that it has been clean and has a tight appearance.

- Making the Mold

After the master is fully prepared, the next thing is placing them onto the casting box. The box is in turn filled with the liquid silicone and then left for curing. The process of curing can take up to several hours before it finally solidifies.

The casting box is then dismantled and torn apart and then carefully cut or torn along the outlined seam line to remove the pattern. This process in turn leaves behind a cavity that is a replica of the original.

- Vacuum Casting

The last part of the process is the vacuum casting technique itself. When it comes to making a master pattern, the already prepared pattern is fitted and resealed with a feed tube. The liquid resin is, in turn, poured onto the mold and placed inside the vacuum chamber.

The vacuum plays a vital process because it drives out all the air from the cavity. It eliminates any air bubbles and forces the resin to occupy the whole space. The mold is heated inside the oven where the resin is cured. After the whole process is finally done, the mold is opened producing a perfect copy of the master pattern.

Vacuum casting provides innovative solutions for the rapid prototyping process. And low volume manufacturing. It's cost-effective and accurate making it the ultimate manufacturing process.

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