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Application Note: Using Rize 3D Printed Molds to Produce Accurate Elastomeric End-Use Parts

Producing 3D printed parts, whether for functional testing, form and fit, or for gauges and tools is normal in the course of any day for the engineers here at Rize. Engineering development demands iterative design and quick turnaround of parts in a fast-paced environment. Fortunately for our engineering department, our own hybrid APD process provides the ideal tool in the Rize™ One 3D printer. Development productivity can keep pace when ideas are realized quickly.

Rize 3D Printed Molds for End-Use Parts

Occasionally, applications for our technology are required outside of the lab environment. Recently, one of our engineers tested a mold produced on the Rize One 3D printer for a custom gasket with an unusual geometry. The design, produced in SOLIDWORKS,

  

printed, and prepared with threaded inserts was ready to test in just one day.

  

    

  The urethane casting material was then injected into the mold,  

  

and was ready to be removed the following morning, a turn-around time of less than 24 hours.

    

After some slight changes to the geometry of the part, a second revision of the mold was produced and prepared and was cast again in the same manner, with another custom gasket released from the mold the following morning. Two iterations of a gasket, ready for functional testing, in less than 48 hours!

A Use Case: Rize 3D Printed Molds vs. Conventional Processes

Engineers understand the cost and time involved in producing molds for elastomeric parts. Design time, evaluation of mold accuracy and draft, as well as quoting and actual machining of production molds is a long and involved process. Why not have a part to test and evaluate right away before committing to the cost and time of acquiring a conventional mold? For one-off applications and for custom designs this may not even be an option. The Rize APD hybrid 3D printer is ideally suited to producing molds for elastomeric parts, for some very good reasons:

-Cost.

The printed mold for the custom gasket that we produced cost approximately $25, including the many threaded heat-set brass inserts used in the base. The same mold machined out of aluminum would cost in the thousands of dollars. Of course, printing a second mold was a slight added cost in material. Better get the design right for that aluminum mold the first time!

-Time.

We printed the molds (top and base) for the gasket in about 9 hours. Lead time for a machined mold would be two weeks, at the minimum, and could be as long as 6-8 weeks. Time is precious.

-Ease of use.

The low surface tension of the Rizium material meant that no release agent whatsoever was required before casting. After removing the part from the mold, a simple cleaning with IPA is all that is required before another part can be cast. Conventional molds require cleaning and frequent re-application of silicone release agents.  

 -Iteration of designs. 

Engineers and designers want to get things just right. Frequently, one idea leads to another quickly. Having the flexibility to change or modify a design and have it in your hand the same day is an advantage that cannot be overstated. The Rize system provides the engineer with the ability to produce parts at their desk, with the capability to mark parts with rev levels, instructions or other details and the added convenience of zero post processing – no caustic liquids and no harmful vapors. Just remove supports, test, iterate, print and repeat. A truly unique, simple and efficient way of producing molds…and anything else that you can think of.

Contact us to see how we can assist you with your molding applications.