What is Cast Molding?
Cast molding is a manufacturing process that introduces liquid materials into a mold cavity where the material turns into a solid state – comparable to molding chocolate. Once in a solid state, the result should reflect the shape and surface of the engineered mold cavity. Due to the adaptability of this process, there is a wide range of cast molding techniques and material options that can provide a broad variety of shapes, sizes, and forms. Below, we will further discuss cast molding and how this process may be helpful in your product design.
Understanding The Process of Cast Molding
Cast molding processes can be as simple as introducing materials into an open cavity by hand or as complex as a fully automated system with complex molding controls. This adaptability makes casting an optimal process for products that require customized materials, varying volumes, or geometries that fit cast requirements. Unlike injection molding or Reaction Injection Molding (RIM), cast molding processes can be designed to provide low to high production volumes. In addition, this process can employ several tooling techniques such as open molds, closed molds, centrifugal molds, and compression molds to name a few. To learn more about the tooling options available for cast molding, click here. Cast molding can also be a great solution for rapid prototyping products in the desired material.
The Benefits of Cast Molding
- Can employ a wide range of materials, including engineered elastomers such as thermoset polyurethanes
- Several molding techniques can be employed to develop rapid prototypes for validation or manufacture small & large volumes
- Products may feature molded-in subcomponents or unique surface finishes
Things to Consider when Cast Molding
While cast molding techniques can be adapted to use a wide range of materials, not all materials are ideal for cast molding processes. The material properties will determine many aspects of the casting process. For instance, metals come in different grades and typically require high heat to cast, requiring complex processes, whereas thermoset polyurethanes can be chemically engineered and processed by hand or automated systems. Regardless of the specific process or material, there may be some geometric features, such as undercuts, that may make cast molding a bit challenging. To avoid this, make sure to include a trusted manufacturing partner early in the design process to best inform your product design.
If you believe cast molding with thermoset polyurethanes may be the right process for your product design, complete our design tool, here, or download our material data sheets below to begin your custom product or component!