Posts Tagged ‘mold’

Using A MakerBot To Make Plastic Molds For Casting

Some people are just designed to push the limits of things. They see possibilities where others see limitations. And then there’s the special breed of person who finds all these new answers and then shares them with everyone else. Cosmo Wenman continues to prove himself one such person.1

Here’s Cosmo’s latest: using a MakerBot to make a negative, that is a mold, of something, and then casting the shape in metal. Look at some of the incredible stuff he’s done with this process already.

You’ll see in the video that Cosmo’s using an acetone bath to slowly peel away the ABS mold. This isn’t necessarily something MakerBot encourages people to do, and if you choose to work with acetone, you should do it with a lot of caution. Also, note this extremely important warning on the Thingiverse page for these items:

[UPDATE: I have to point out that all the low temp “cerro–” alloys have lead and cadmium, and are toxic. You need to use proper ventilation, and keep it away from food preparation areas. In fact, I’m going to be looking into “Field’s metal”, which has neither lead or cadmium, and I’ll report back how well that works in ABS. The objects you make *won’t* be suitable for food preparation or food containers or utensils of any kind, and probably not for kids’ toys either. FWIW, I’ve seen several gunsmithing how-to videos that don’t mention toxicity of the Cerro-lines at all, and they aren’t using ventilators either, but they should. For all I know it gives off gamma rays too. Here are some Material Safety Data Sheets I found:

Now, imagine the possibilities of this process. Like he says, it’s like lost wax casting, but a few steps easier since you make the target object on your computer and there’s no “wax burnout” step at all.


  1. In fact, we could probably declare him the champion of Thingiverse documentation. Any objections? []
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Reverse Engineering Shaped Balloons With 3D Printing!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Lutz-R. Frank via Compfight

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Lutz-R. Frank via Compfight

How amazing would it be to be able to have a balloon in any shape?  What would you want?  A piano?  A cartoon character?  A giant bouncy house?

The New Scientist just reported that a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Disney Research has developed a method for taking any desired 3D shape, then using their research on how a rubber balloon stretches as it inflates, reverse engineers the deflated shape that would most closely lead to the desired inflated balloon.  Then, once they have the model for the deflated balloon, they create a mold for it using a 3D printer!  If you just can’t wait to learn more, they’re presenting their work at the Eurographics conference in Italy next month.

Thanks to Luis Rodriguez for the link!

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Injection Molding From A 3D Printed Part

Here’s the take-home point of the Instructable I’m sharing with you here:

…it’s possible to 3d print a mold with existing technologies for limited use.


For this experiment, Bryan Brutherford (whose work we have previously shown some Pinterest Love) made a 3D-printed mold of his Brutherford Industries logo. In this case he used a high-res Objet printer to print an acrylic photo-polymer mold. The result looks pretty smooth.








Next Bryan sprayed the mold with some silicone mold release, such as this one, and injected some melted cellulose acetate pellets — who among us doesn’t have some cellulose acetate lying around?

It looks like it took six tries to get the injection just right, and that’s not bad. The final result is a really sweet keychain.

What does this mean for MakerBot owners? According to his Instructable, the mold started to deform after 20 uses or so. We do already know that other low-melting point materials can do pretty well in an ABS mold. This sign on Thingiverse by Tinkerer was cast in pewter.

The printed mold here came from an expensive desktop unit, as Bryan is an industrial designer and indicates he used an Objet. Prints on a MakerBot can be stunningly detailed and fine right off the build platform. And if you’re looking to create even smoother surfaces on your print, there are several easy solutions that we’ll be detailing in an upcoming episode of MakerBot TV.

Does anyone have any experience with injection molding?


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I Have Seen The Future And It Is… Stephen “Gourd-head” Colbert

Posted by on Friday, March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
How to: Grow a Portrait Gourd

How to: Grow a Portrait Gourd

Apparently, growing gourds in molds is an ancient 500 year old Chinese artform!  By creating a mold of a sculpture and placing that mold around a young gourd, the gourd will grow and take the shape of the mold.  While this artform was almost lost in the 1970’s, the craft was revived by Mr. Zhang Cairi and the basics have now been condensed into this instructable by Make’s Tim Anderson.

This is one of those times when I’m just surfing the ‘net and realize, “Hey, that would be PERFECT for Stephen Colbert!”  I know there are Colbert chocolate mold makers out there.  Is anyone game for creating a Colbert gourd using a 3D printed mold?

From Instructables via Make Blog!

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Secret PLA Repair Tech

Posted by on Thursday, December 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


Thingiverse user arkatipe recently posted their designs for a “device to repair plastic hangers.”  The device itself is little more than a hollow plastic cylinder.  However, the way arkatipe used this simple PLA cylinder is particularly interesting.

This is intentionally a little bit smaller than the hanger diameter. I’d recommend that you clean it up, drop it in a cup of water, then stick it in the microwave for a minute or so. After it’s softened up, press it on the hanger and hold it in shape until it hardens.

PLA softens at a much lower temperature than ABS and tends to hold the heat a little longer, staying malleable.  Having a little plastic part that can be printed very close to what you need, softened, molded, and then left to cool and harden could be incredibly useful.  It really opens up a world of possibilities.  If there were a particular shape that one could foresee being very useful, you could print up several of them and keep them on hand.  When you’re read to use them, moisten, nuke, mold, harden.

Thanks arkatipe!

Error - could not find Thing 14187.
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Candlemaking molds with a MakerBot

Candle of Android's Mascot by mah_digilife

Candle of Android's Mascot by mah_digilife

When I saw the above image I first thought, “Gah!  Have we learned nothing from the flaming bunnies!”  After reading the entire description, I was greatly relieved and excited to see mah_digilife was using their MakerBot for printing molds, not candles.   His description, list of materials, instructions, and numerous pictures should be enough to help anyone get started in candle making.  These directions could probably be used to help make molds for candles, soap, and probably even little silicone objects as well.  What a great new use for a 3D printer!

Error - could not find Thing 9322.
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Sand Molds!


The beetle sand mould by sandy3d

The beetle sand mould by sandy3d

This seems to be the very first sand mold on Thingiverse1  The amazing thing about Thingiverse is that nearly three years after it’s creation people are still coming up with totally brand new things to design and upload.  Once a totally new (and open source!) design is uploaded, variations and improvements inevitably start popping up.

Why not a sand mold Mini Cooper, Lamborghini, or Ford Shelby?  With a little OpenSCAD magic, it might take very long to create your own mold from almost anything on Thingiverse.  For your OpenSCAD enjoyment, here’s how to make a similar style sand mold out of nearly any STL on Thingiverse:

  • difference()
  • {
  • scale(1.5) import_stl(“gangsta_fixed.stl”);
  • import_stl(“gangsta_fixed.stl”);
  • }

How else could you make molds using existing STL’s from Thingiverse?  And, more importantly, what would you use those molds for?

Error - could not find Thing 8980.
  1. If I’m wrong, please let me know! []
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Jell-O Mold Competition 2011 – Call To Entry (Deadline: June 15, 2011)

The annual Jell-O Mold Competition is coming up again, with plenty of opportunities for MakerBot Operators and Thingiverse makers. The teens portion of the competition has already been using MakerBots to print molds — how might you use your MakerBot to make objects out of Jell-O or other gelatinous substances? Check out the Call To Entry below!


Jell-O’s Big Adventure

The Jell-O Mold Competition has taken Jell-O out of the cafeteria, but the time has come to take it out of the kitchen altogether and into the world at large! This year, Jell-O takes New York.

To get things wobbling, we took Jell-O out to the city and into the classroom for a Jell-O Mold Workshop for NYC high school students run in partnership with Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, with additional support from Smart Design–now it’s your turn to get in on the adventure.

This year’s competition asks designers to explore the everyday uses of this wobbly, delicious, shape shifting medium.

Designers will compete for cash prizes, a year membership to the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, gifts from Papabubble, Holstee, and more!

A crack panel of respected judges including Allan Chochinov of Core77, Emily Elsen of Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie shop, and Josee Lepage of creative agency Bondtoo will announce the winners at 8pm on Saturday, June

25, 2011.  The judging and awards ceremony will be held at the Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn.

Enter today!

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