What is Urethane Casting (Vacuum Casting)
Urethane casting provides end-use, rigid plastic, rubber, and silicone parts with production-level quality. Soch3D is a leader in vacuum casting services with options to fit your timeline and budget. Urethane gives professional results for low-volume production using a soft-tooling approach. The urethane casting process uses a 3D printed master pattern and RTV silicone molds to deliver high-quality, short-run parts up to 30” long. The finished dimensions of urethane cast parts depend on the accuracy of the master model, part geometry, and casting material. In general, a shrinkage rate of + 0.15% is typical.
Cast urethane parts are ideal when color, surface quality, and toughness are required for quantities from one to one hundred. Urethane molding is a perfect alternative for insert molding or overmolding in low volumes with diverse material choices. Polyurethane or silicone casting can bridge production between a 3D printed rapid prototype and an injection molding with a balance of quality, cost, and time. Urethane cast parts can be clear, color-matched, painted (including EMI shielding), installed inserts, and custom finished.
Vacuum Casting Materials
Vacuum Casting Reviews
Best Rapid Prototyping, 3d printing & Vacuum Casting Service. Accurate prints. Best post-processed and Painted. The team is so skilled. Thanks Soch3d.
Our design for chemical testing required 20 parts made of tough material. With Soch3D's help, we got them in 1 week and were able to showcase our product with great success.
My team needed 25 pieces of a part for extreme temperature testing of storage systems. Vacuum cast parts delivered by Soch3D were able to withstand -60 deg C without any trouble. We are quite pleased.
We made novel mementos using vacuum casting for our internal quiz event. With Soch3D's help, we came up with an innovative design and presented the winners with trophies to remember forever.
We used Soch3D's vacuum casting service for our brand launch. They made 60 replicas of our mascot using Vacuum casting process and delivered them with a great finish.
Our IoT product needed field testing. Upon research, we decided to go with the vacuum casting process. Soch3D assisted us throughout the process starting with their online quoting tool. We had our parts made economically with great quality.
We needed 20 prototypes of our product for testing. Upon suggestion from Soch3D, we chose vacuum casting. The parts delivered by them were of good quality and looked like finished products. The dimensional accuracy was also great.
How does vacuum casting work?
In short, plastic films and sand are sculpted over a pattern using heat, coupled with vibration and vacuum to form a shape in the form of a mould. This mould is used to shape the liquid that will be poured later in the process. This suction of the vacuum is used to hold this mould in the correct place until the mould has solidified completely and is ready to be extracted.
Here is the detailed process that is followed by vacuum casting:
The pattern is mounted on a pattern plate in the form of a hollow vacuum box. Through this box, the holes are drilled in the shape of any concave features that might be present on the surface of the mould. A plastic film or heater are mounted above this pattern and the film is sucked down to get applied on the pattern plate
A moulding box that has hollow and porous walls and a vacuum attachment is placed over the film-covered pattern and the box is filled with dry unbonded sand.
Down gates and risers are used to make sure that the sand binds together well
The vacuum is gently released from below and the metal is poured while maintaining the vacuum on the moulding boxes
When the casting has completely cooled down, a slight pressure is applied so that the sand becomes free flowing and the casting falls effortlessly from the molding boxes.
What are the materials used in the vacuum casting process?
Components made using the vacuum casting process use a variety of different materials like polymers and resins. Polyurethane is one of the best choices for making engineering grade equipment using the vacuum casting process. This can also be used to make different grades of items and products with different and specific functionalities. Most polyurethanes can be treated at high temperatures. Along with that, there are specific variants of polyurethane that can be used according to the requirements of the manufacturer and the consumer.
Another type of resin that can be used with vacuum casting is rubber elastomer. These elastomers can be used with silicon moulds in the process of vacuum casting. Most of these compounds include silicon itself.
Other materials that may be used are polycarbonates and ABS resins for making different kinds of components.
Applications of vacuum casting process
Vacuum casting is widely used in the food and beverage industry to make tins and bottles out of different materials. The process is also used to make a variety of commercial products and household products.
Commercial products: This process is widely used in packaging. Most of the products that are made with the vacuum casting process are mobile cases, sunglasses and packages for food and drinks.
Food and beverages: The industry uses this process a lot to make packaging items for their perishables. Since this process can make the same vacuum casting products by the millions in a very short time, it is very popular in the consumer sector
These are some of the batch production examples where vacuum molding can be used.
Relevance of vacuum casting process in automobile, IoT and medical industry
Many industries, including the automobile, aircraft and electronic sectors have actively researched the process of vacuum mould casting in the recent years. The die-casting method is a process that is used to make a product. It is because of the simplified form and non-complicated process of making these products that the electronics, automobile, IoT and the medical industry is increasingly getting into this sphere. With the kind of precision and accuracy this process provides to the industries, the manufacturing of the same product in a large volume becomes easy, fast and affordable. Packing materials are used in all of these industries and it is packaging that the vacuum casting process is adept at. The manufacturing of packaging in all these sectors is the prime reason why the vacuum casting process is receiving a lot of research and development efforts. It is through the development of this process can these industries hope to develop their efficiency and productivity, and in turn, reduce their lead turnaround time.