Vacuum Casting

Vacuum casting is a method to replicate components, often used in the prototype phase of product development. Strong durable polyurethane (PU) resin components can be produced from silicone tools. In general; MNL produces silicone tools from 3D printed masters, which have been surface finished to replicate the desired production finish. There are many PU resins to choose from, they differ in their physical properties and are often chosen to closely simulate an engineering plastic or elastomer.

Vacuum Casting in more detail …

  • “Parts can be produced in a wide array of materials to simulate most engineering plastics”
  • Masters from any source or 3D printing technology are used to produce silicon tools from which castings can be produced in a wide array of materials to simulate most engineering plastics.
  • We can produce Polyurethane (PU) castings in the following material simulants or properties: ABS, Polypropylene, Nylon, Glass-filled Nylon, Polycarbonate, TPE, Hytrel, HDPE, etc. Temperature specific materials, flexible materials with A Shore ratings as low as 30A up to 90A and D Shore ratings also.
  • In general MNL’s silicone tools are guaranteed to produce a minimum of 30 castings per cavity¥
  • Elastomeric resins yield many more components and up to 50 castings per cavity are possible.
  • Tools are available in multi-cavity versions in order to produce larger quantities quicker and more economically.
  • Metal inserts are used to hold tight tolerances in bores and critical areas.

Vacuum Casting Process in Action

A short video of the vacuum casting process in action.

Typical applications are endless …

  • Extensive product testing achievable on multiple sets for parallel tests.
  • Quick turnaround, 20 sets available within approx 2 weeks.
  • Can be cheaper than 3D printing, the break-even point is approx 4-5 sets.
  • Vacuum cast components are frequently used as market research models as they are often impossible to tell the difference between them and the production items.
  • Production bridge – vacuum castings can be used to bridge the gap whilst sales are ramping up to full production..
  • Low Volume Production – PU resin components from either vacuum casting or RIM processes offer excellent strength and durability suitable for production of low volumes.

Examples of Projects involving Vacuum Casting

Explore many different projects where vacuum casing has played a part. Various projects from single components produced multiple times, through to fully finished exhibition quality assemblies.

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