If you need a small quantity of plastic pieces with the quality of injection molded components, Vacuum Casting at Materialise might be exactly what you are looking for. The Materialise Vacuum Casting facility in the Czech Republic was specifically created to produce small series of plastic components of the highest possible quality. For prototyping or for end-use components.
3D Printed Masters
The surface quality and the dimensional accuracy of the master is a determining factor for the quality of vacuum casted components. That is why we print our masters on our patented Mammoth Stereolithography machines. This technology is the fastest possible way of creating detailed one-off components, ranging in size from small to exceptionally large.
The method uses cast silicone molds made as follows: a master model (that typically originates from stereolithography or selective laser sintering) is carefully prepared to ensure a high quality finish to the surface and the definition of the parting planes. Silicone is cast around the master, partially under vacuum in order to avoid air bubbles being trapped in between the master and silicone. After curing, the mold is cut according to the parting planes and the master is removed, leaving a cavity to make copies. The flexibility of the silicone allows limited undercuts, which might avoid slides or additional parting planes.
Two-component polyurethanes are typically used as copying material. This allows fast production of high quality parts. Vacuum casting is a copying technique used for the production of small series (10 to 20) of functional plastic prototypes.