Have you ever had a project where an SLA part wouldn’t fit the bill, but you weren’t sure which direction to turn next? There are many prototyping options available beyond plastic SLAs. If you need more than one of the same part, the casting process can be an excellent alternative. Met-L-Flo casts prototype pieces in urethane, rubber and silicone. This option is offered if you need a short run for testing parts, mock fit up, marketing strategies, product development, tradeshow pieces for exploration at your booth, or even as giveaways. This process is particularly beneficial for larger quantities, typically resulting in a per part cost savings.
Example: The management team will be reviewing a new design, and you want each of the ten team members to have a prototype in their hands.
This process begins with printing the 3D data, typically in an SLA to produce a master pattern. That pattern is then molded in silicone to produce a tool that will be used to cast the desired number of parts. There are a wide variety of casting materials available to fit your project needs. The material can be run in soft durometers, or harder durometers to simulate ABS, HIPS, or Rubber. We can also create a plastic tool to produce silicone parts. These parts have options after they are cast as well. We can texturize them or paint them to give them a production look. They can be made paint ready for you to paint. If inserts are required, we can install the inserts or make sure everything is cleaned up for you to install them. Imagine, a finished part to give to your management team that they can touch, feel, and evaluate hands on.
One of our customers graciously gave us the green light to share photos of their casting project with you. This client needed something flexible to fit over their phone. After reviewing the geometry we recommended a rubber urethane. We were given the order to proceed. We made several in a soft rubber then sent them out for evaluation. After reviewing, the customer wanted something that was a bit more rigid. One of the benefits of using this process is the mold can be used with several different materials. Therefore we were able to change material durometers and meet their new expectation without needing new tooling.