- Five Things You Will Learn
- About Silicones
- Forming Silicone With 3D Printed Tooling
- 3D Printing Resins and Silicones Compatibility
- Additional Best Practices
- Selecting a Mold Type
- Customer Case Studies
- Step-by-Step Guide
- Moving From Prototyping to Manufacturing
Soft rubbery parts have applications across many industries, from custom hearing aids, to entertainment props and prosthetics, to handles and grips on consumer goods. Designers can incorporate robust, bendable and stretchable true silicone parts into their portfolios using SLA 3D printed tooling and silicone rubbers readily accessible from hardware stores, art and jewelry supply resellers, and other common suppliers.
Silicone is a popular material to fabricate soft end-use parts as well as produce soft molds for casting rigid materials. In fact, silicone “molding and casting” terminology is broadly used to reference any multi-step method that employs silicone rubbers. Here we differentiate between two processes: “silicone mold making” and “silicone part production.”
In silicone mold making, sometimes also called silicone molding, castable silicone is used as a mold material for replicating a rigid master model. Silicone rubber is poured around a 3D printed master, and then the cavity in the silicone mold is filled with another castable material. This is often a rigid material that begins as a liquid and then cures upon cooling or a chemical reaction, such as thermoplastics, resins, cement, wax, or plaster, and in some cases expanding materials such as polymer foams.
This guide covers silicone part production, which employs a 3D printed mold to contain castable silicone for the production of soft, rubbery end products.
Five Things You Will Learn:
Selecting a silicone for your application
How to encapsulate hardware using overmolding
Best practices for designing critical features of 3D printed molds
Tips for silicone-resin compatibility
Key differences between prototype and production tooling
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