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The simple post-processing techniques presented in this guide are an excellent way for professionals to create low-cost silicone molds, threaded inserts for enclosures, vacuum formed parts, and more.
Silicone molding is a powerful production method that when combined with 3D printing, can allow you to make several of one product, or create a product in a material that is not supported by your 3D printer.
In this How To, we will show you some of the best practices associated with 3D printing molds to pour into. To demonstrate this process, we will create a bicycle handlebar grip out of flexible silicone using a 3D printed mold.
Working time will vary depending on a number of factors. This process took us about 30 minutes excluding cure times, which will vary depending on the silicone products used.
As silicone molding is not very demanding on your prints, there are minimal print settings to take into account when printing a mold.
In this case we used standard settings. If surface finish of the cast part is of concern, consider sanding your printed mold.
Spray all mold surfaces with mold release & fasten mold pieces together with rubber bands
OPEN AND STIR SILICONE
You will need to stir each part of the silicone individually before mixing.
Be sure not to stir too vigorously, otherwise you will stir in air bubbles which can be detrimental to your cast part.
MEASURE SILICONE PARTS & ADD DYE
Measure Part A
Measure Part B
Add dye to either Part A or B (this will be specified on your silicone/dye)
Stir in dye
Combine parts A and B and stir.
Stir slowly as not to mix in air bubbles.
Check instructions for the “pot-life” of your silicone. This will tell you how long you have to work with your silicone until it cures.
Here we used a three piece mold, so we only filled about ¾ of the mold to account for the third piece.
After pouring, the insert seen here was added to create a channel in the cast part for a bicycle handlebar.
The 2021 Guide to 3D Printing Materials
Learn about polymers, composites, and metals all available for 3D Printing!
OPEN AND REMOVE
You may need a flat tool like the one shown below to provide leverage when opening the mold.
Open slowly as not to damage your part.
Here, you can see the part we were able to create using a 3D printed mold.
Visit one of our other applications pages for tips on how to take your print even further.
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Last but not least, remember to share your work with us on Thingiverse and social media @MakerBot.
We can’t wait to see what you make!