Vacuum casting has become one of the most popular methods of prototyping for low volume manufacturing and startups. It is a flexible and reliable process for various prototype and industrial parts.
This highly talked about manufacturing process requires a high-quality primary model that serves as the sample of the part itself or a dummy made using stereo-lithography. This model should be made to perfection in terms of dimensions and looks so that after vacuum casting, the manufactured part is perfect.
The Manufacturing Process
In vacuum casting, the process requires a rubber or silicon-based that is divided into two parts. These two processes include encapsulating the master model and heating it to a very high temperature to purify it. When the model is entirely heated, the upper portion will have a hollow center that matches the dimension of the master model.
This is where the second half of the process comes in. The material, which is usually polyurethane resin, will fill this mold using the vacuum chamber. This material has the characteristics of glass-filled nylon, polycarbonate, and high-density polyethylene. For aesthetic appeal and some functional features, metallic powder and some coloring pigment may be added.
When the resin has filled the mold, it is sealed inside the vacuum chamber so it can prevent air bubbles from forming in the product. The resin is heated in a heating mechanism like an oven. Later, the product will be detached from the mold and modified it with paints or finishing touches as the final step. The good thing about vacuum casting is it can be reused for more parts.
Vacuum casting offers many benefits depending on the requirements and application of the parts. It provides a high level of accuracy of the parts produced and faithfulness to the model. There are a wide variety of colors that can be added to the vacuum chamber, as well as the materials to use. Several metallic powders like bronze, gold, aluminum, and marble to achieve different finishes. Compared to injection molding, it is an economical choice because the cost increases with tooling.
In China, you can find many companies that offer vacuum casting services like LT Century Prototype. These companies apply the technique to produce a variety of products and parts like prototypes made from plastic for making consumer goods or industrial use. This method is also used worldwide for manufacturing medical devices and prosthetics, automotive and aerospace parts, part integration, function testing, and many decorative pieces.