Urethane casting combines the strength and finish of injection-molded parts with the flexibility of 3D printed tooling. Learn more about this low-volume process!
Urethane casting (UC) is a manufacturing technique allowing for low- to mid-range volume production. It successfully bridges the gap between alternative low-cost methods, which lack scalability, and injection molding. This method allows creation of production-like parts with high-quality, detailed features and cosmetic similarity both quickly and inexpensively.
UC is primarily aimed towards situations where the cost of hard tooling in aluminum or steel, such as for injection-molded parts, would prevent manufacture. UC can also be referred to as room temperature vulcanization (RTV), where the silicone mold is cured in ambient conditions.
If you’re interested, you can check out our article on the differences between 3D printing and injection molding. But in the meantime, let’s find out how UC could benefit you…
The UC process can be broken down into four key steps:
The UC manufacturing method has many benefits:
There are, however, a few drawbacks to consider:
UC is ideal for prototyping elastomeric parts, such as gaskets or over-molds for rigid parts. One example of a great future use in over-molding would be in a steering wheel, where different requirements for grip points can be incorporated into the master pattern.
One can also achieve good quality “look-alike” concept parts for shows, along with low-volume manufacturing to offer a more customizable product.
Urethanes have also been used on skateboard wheels since the early 1960s. They remain the material of choice due to great customization coupled with simplicity of the part, leaning towards a good number of parts being moldable from a single tool. For the same reason, UC has also been successful in conveyor systems, in use on many of the lagged pulleys and rollers required as well as screen wear products.
Want to try the UC method for yourself? Get your part 3D printed in a standard, transparent, or tough resin via All3DP’s all-in-one 3D printing and price comparison service.
Feature image source: Unsplash
License: The text of "Urethane Casting – All You Need to Know" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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