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Welcome to our blog post on 3D printed molds used to create the popular Cloop magnetic bands. In this article, we will delve into the world of silicone molding and 3D printing, and explain how we utilized these techniques, including our mini silicone injection mold, to create high-quality, custom-made molds quickly and efficiently.
Thanks to 3D printed molds, we were able to create multiple prototypes for the Cloop magnetic bands at a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing techniques like injection molding. The success of the Cloop magnetic bands is a testament to the power of rapid tooling and 3D printing in modern manufacturing. In this article, we will cover the following topics:
When it comes to creating a prototype or a small batch of products,, silicone🟢 molding can be a cost-effective and efficient option. This technique involves creating a mold from a master model and then pouring resin mixture into the mold to create the final product. Here are the steps involved in silicone molding:
Step 1: Create a Mold Box 📦
A mold box is necessary to contain the silicone mold material. You can create a mold box from foam core or use a pre-made box.
Step 2: Create a Master Model 🎨
The master model is the original item that will be used to create the mold. You can create a master model using 3D printing or traditional manufacturing techniques.
Step 3: Prepare Silicone Mold Material 🧪
Step 4: Pour Silicone Mold Material into Mold Box 🟢
Step 5: Create Pour Holes and Vents 🔩
Step 6: Mix Resin one and Pour into Mold 🎉
Step 7: Remove Product from Mold and Clean 💦
As a fun fact, below was our very first prototype of Cloop using rubber bands and magnets glue to the ends.
Create a 3D model of your part using software like Solidworks. You can design your part from scratch, or use an existing 3D model as a basis for your design.
Using the 3D file, create a mold for the part using the same 3D software. This involves designing a box-like structure that can be easily open, contains a port to inject silicone and holes to allow air to exit the mold.
Create a bottom part and a top part for the mold. The bottom part will form the base of the mold, while the top part will be used to inject the silicone material. The top part should include a small opening for the silicone to be injected, as well as some small holes to allow air to escape.
Position the magnets at the end of the band in the bottom part of the mold. Below a picture that shows the location of the magnets at the end of the band.
Close the mold tightly. Once the mold is ready, you can inject the silicone material into the mold using a syringe or other injection tool.Typically the silicone can start curing in minutes so you want to be ready and do this part fast.
Cure the silicone at high temperatures (~160°F for 1 hour depending on the type of silicone used). Once the silicone is injected into the mold, it needs to be cured to set into its final shape. This can be done by heating the mold to the appropriate temperature and letting it sit for a specified amount of time.
If the product includes magnets, cure the silicone at lower but longer temperatures to prevent damage to the magnets. If your product includes magnets, like the Cloop magnetic bands, you may need to adjust the curing process to prevent damage to the magnets. In these cases, it is often best to cure the silicone at a lower temperature for a longer period of time to avoid damaging the magnets.
3D printed molds have revolutionized the way products prototypes are created, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Using 3D printing technology to create molds can significantly reduce costs and speed up the prototyping process.
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