What is Vacuum Casting?
Vacuum casting (also called resin casting) is a molding method for duplicating plastic products by pouring plastic into a mold contained within a near vacuum tank. This method’s greatest feature is its ability to create highly precise plastic products while reducing cost and drastically minimizing turnaround. Epoxy and urethane plastics are typically used for the mold, and the master mold typically uses silicon or plastic. The plastics used for casting are highly viscous, though many have low liquidity. After the air in the tank is extracted with a pump, creating a vacuum state, the plastic is poured in. The pressure difference is used to spread the plastic to every corner of the master mold as the pressure is gradually returned to normal. crossEffect uses a silicon variety for the master mold, processing mainly urethane plastics.
Two day delivery time (shortest) after receiving data!
Achieving shortest turnaround while completely increasing efficiency!
Manufacturing that faithfully achieves the customer's needs,
with support for surface processing, coating, and complex shapes.
Possible to integrate with product design!
Leave the design and 3D modeling stages to use.
- Compared to conventional mold making, time and cost are drastically cut (to a few tenths).
- Support for multiple pieces. Cost and delivery time are reduced compared to cutting.
- Supports large items not compatible with 3D printers.
- The prototypes we provide are nearly identical to pieces for mass production, including aesthetic considerations such as surface treatment and coating.
- Choose from a wide range of plastic types for the most optimal suitability.
- Silicon can be repeatedly used up to 20 times. All compatible with production of multiple pieces.
- Support for sheet metal inserts and whole items using different plastics.
Vacuum Cast Prototyping Process
Parting line and gate are decided, taking plastic finish and fluidity into account.
Molding frame assembled to match size of master model. Agitated and vacuum defoamed silicon is poured into the molding frame, then hardened in a temperature controlled bath.
Hardened mold is removed from molding frame, then cut on the parting line.
Master model is removed, and the vacuum cast molding model is finished.
Silicon mold and plastic are set in the vacuum tank, and the resin (which has been agitated with a hardening agent and main agent in a vacuum state) is poured in.
The mold is transferred to a temperature controlled tank, hardening the plastic. (Takes 60 to 120 minutes depending on the plastic.)
After hardening, the product is removed from the silicon mold.
Finally, the product is removed and the burrs and gated areas are finished.
Vacuum Casting Plastic Varieties
We offer a wide range of plastic varieties to meet the customer’s various needs. Please get in touch with us as we also offer many non-standard colors.
|ABS-like (standard colors: beige, black, milky white)||This plastic is similar to the feel of ABS material. It has a good balance of mechanical properties, with a degree of hardness and impact resistance. It is the most inexpensive material for casting and is known as a good general-purpose material.|
|Polypropylene-like (standard colors: black, milky white)||Plastic made to resemble the properties of polypropylene. The softest among hard casting plastics, it has a degree of elasticity, which makes it resistant to bending and pulling. Semi-hard manufacturing is also possible by altering the degree of hardness.|
|Acrylic-like (standard colors: transparent)||This highly transparent plastic make it possible to manufacture transparent products, and the plastic can also be colored to produce transparent colored products as well. Opaque products can be produced as well. The surface hardness is relatively high, though it also tends to be weak to impacts.|
|POM-like (standard colors: off-white)||This plastic has similar properties as POM (polyacetal), with excellent resistance to abrasions, which makes it suitable for products that require slidable parts and gears.|
|Elastomer-like (standard colors: black, milky white, transparent)||A plastic that supports rubber products, with a hardness that can be changed from a degree of 20 to 90. Just like hard plastics, this material can also support transparent products.|
|Heat Resistant Plastic (standard color: amber)||This plastic works with products that require heat resistance, and is resistant to temperatures as high as 200 ℃. Annealing treatment (high temperature heat treatment) is required to create heat resistance, which shrinks the resin slightly at the time of treatment.|
|Flame Retardant Plastic (standard color: milky white)||*Plastic has UL94 Standard V-0 Certification for flame retardancy. Has the same mechanical properties (such as hardness) as ABS-like plastics.
*Displays high flame retardancy in order of 5VA, 5VB, V-0, V-1, V-2, and HB for UL94 standards (flame retardancy standards).
|Non-Yellowing Plastic (standard color: transparent)||This plastic has been improved to prevent yellowing, which is an issue with many plastics hardened by vacuum casting. It has the same permeability and physical properties as acrylic-like plastics.|
|Silicone (standard color: opalescent)||Silicone rubber is water repellent, soft, and has excellent chemical and heat resistant properties. It is widely used in packaging, covers, kitchen goods, and other miscellaneous accessories.|
|Urethane Gel (standard color: beige, transparent)||This plastic is made to reproduce the softness of the human skin, with a degree of softness that can be altered from 0 to 20 — something that is unachievable with elastomer-like plastics. Our organ models (for preoperative simulation) use this plastic.|
The plastics used for vacuum casting slightly differ from thermoplastics, and are not suitable for durability testing that simulates the actual product. If you would like a model that is harder, more durable, and more heat resistant, we recommend photolithography prototyping. Highly accurate testing is made possible by selecting the material that most closely resembles the final molded product. In addition, it is possible to create a product that is nearly identical in appearance to the molded piece, which allows for external shape verification (design surface).
Vacuum Casting Usage Applications
We provide prototypes that are nearly identical to the actual model making design evaluation and shape/aesthetic verification possible. We ensure that the quality is sufficient for practical use at presentations and as a promotional sample.
Using vacuum cast prototypes allows for smooth verification steps in the development process, such as functional verification, performance evaluation, practical evaluation, and visual evaluation.
Production & Manufacturing Technology
Not only can vacuum cast pieces be used to verify metal molds and production processes, they can also be used for small lot production. Since it does not require a metal mold, cost can be greatly reduced.
Doing our part to save lives, we create elaborate organ models for preoperative simulations using the latest in vacuum casting technology.
Reference Prices for Vacuum Casting (Example)
- : If ordering 5 pieces up to 150 mm x 150 mm x 75 mm
- : Up to t=2㎜
- : ABS-like
- Surface Processing
- : Matte finish
- Estimate Price
- ：Approximately 158,000 yen *Master cost (photolithography) + silicon mold cost = approximately 130,000 yen; Vacuum cast piece cost (approximately 5,600 yen x 5) = approximately 28,000 yen
Commonly Asked Questions
- What is the largest size for casting?
- We can produce sizes up to 500 mm x 500 mm x 500 mm (Size of actual model)
*Please get in touch with us if exceeding this size.
- Is it possible to provide our own master mold?
- This is possible. In this case, in-house base processing (coating, polishing) will be necessary.
Please allow us to first take a look at the master.
- How is the estimate derived?
- We will make an estimate based on the shape. Thank you for your understanding.
- Is it possible to mold one single piece from multiple masters?
- This is possible. Please consult with us, as this requires confirmation of the shape.