Vacuum casting is a commonly used technique for the production of industrial parts and plastic prototypes. This reliable and valuable technique can be used to complement processes like CNC machining and 3D printing too. As one of the most economical ways to create prototypes, this casting process for elastomers uses a vacuum to convert liquid material into the mold. This is indeed one of the best considerations if you have intricate details and undercuts on the mold. Also known as thermoforming, this process requires to have the materials preheated in an automated vacuum casting machine until they are soft.
If you are considering using vacuum casting for rapid prototypes, there are several benefits. Let's take a look at some of the key advantages of using vacuum casting for product development with high-quality prototypes.
Reasons to use Vacuum Casting
Quality: This is undeniably one of the key reasons to consider vacuum casting for rapid prototypes. Although it is a prototyping process, it is capable of reproducing parts that are of production quality. For high resolutions features and excellent finishes, ensure the master model is of superior quality.
Production speed: In comparison to mass production hard tools, silicone molds can be processed through vacuum casting in just a few days. If your business is facing a critical deadline, this method can save time while speeding up the product development process. While injection molding takes weeks and is a good technique for mass production, it is not suitable for rapid prototyping.
Cost of production: If you are looking for an economical solution for prototyping, vacuum casting is undoubtedly the top preference. Firstly, silicone is comparatively a cheaper material and secondly, a single mold can be reused for multiple prototypes. That's not all, in comparison to CNC machining or injection molding, vacuum casting has lower energy consumption costs.
Final product finish: Even the finest and the most intricate details are well captured from the master pattern to the finished product. This is essentially because of the mold material used - silicone.
Capable of functional testing and validation: This is one of the biggest advantages of using vacuum casting, especially for product developers who are looking to carry out early quality assurance. Through vacuum casting, you are able to produce parts and prototypes with a high degree of accuracy that resembles the final product. This functionality helps product developers to do functional testing and validation.
When a series of high-quality prototypes are required, vacuum casting becomes a good fit. It's one of the best