3D Printing Silicone Molds
3D Printer Applications
3D printing is a disruptive process for many manufacturing applications. Silicone molding (also known as RTV molding) is the latest to be reinvented with additive manufacturing with big savings in cost and production time.
Silicone (RTV) molding is a very efficient, economical solution for low-volume production of plastic parts. It is typically a 3-step process beginning with a pattern made out of wood, metal or plastic. Liquid silicone rubber is poured over the pattern to make the mold. After the mold has cured, the pattern is removed and then it is filled with urethane to produce the final parts. Common applications include medical, aerospace, and electronics.
3D printing is able to streamline the most time consuming part of the process – making the patterns. With PolyJet-based 3D printing technology you can create the silicone mold patterns reducing the process from a few weeks to a few hours. Improving speed does not mean decreasing quality as the accuracy of the molds is kept due to the high resolution capability of Polyjet. Even extremely complex or intricate patterns do not add time or costs to the design process with 3D printing. The resulting patterns have smooth surfaces and are mold-ready, incorporating tight tolerances and fine details that are easily transferred to the urethane castings.
3D Printing Silicone Molds Case Study