Modeling with Speed and Accuracy
BasTech’s proficiency in broad-spectrum prototyping allows for swift and precise fabrication of testable models suited to your individual specifications. From Additive Tooling and Direct Metal Printing to RTV Molding and CNC Machining, BasTech will skillfully and consistently produce prototypes designed toward accuracy and durability.
Rapid prototyping is a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) data. Construction of the part or assembly is usually done using 3D printing or additive manufacturing technology.
Process of Rapid Prototyping
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- MultiJet Printing (MJP)
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Direct Metal Printing (DMP)
- Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
BasTech also employs many other processes to create spot-on prototypes for our customers. These include:
- CNC machining
- Urethane molding
- Modeling, and often, a combination of processes
Silicone is cast around an SLA master pattern creating a repeatable mold. After curing, the mold is used to create cast urethane prototypes of your design. This process is also called “soft tooling” and is often used as a cost-effective method to create low-run length prototype parts.
RTV Molding Process
The process begins with a 3D printed stereolithography (SLA) rapid prototype master pattern. Machined and/or fabricated master patterns can also be used for tighter tolerances. The SLA RP model is inspected for accuracy, then the “appearance” surfaces are bead-blasted, sanded smooth, and a primer coat is applied to achieve the surface finish required to meet your application requirements. If the parts are to be polished or cast in clear resin, then the surface will be polished to a gloss finish in preparation for making the silicone rubber mold.
Next, the mold is created. The silicone rubber uses a room temperature vulcanization process typically referred to as RTV. The part is scrutinized by one of our technicians to determine the best molding setup to achieve the highest quality urethane casting reproduction.
Parting lines are selected to assure the best location thus avoiding flash on appearance surfaces. Rubber mold runners, gates, sprues, and vents are located in areas to support mold fill, isolating and minimizing air bubbles to non-critical areas, while optimizing appearance surface quality.
The SLA rapid prototype master is set-up on a parting block to make a two- (or many) part mold or suspended in a frame to make a one-part cut mold. Silicone is poured around the SLA master pattern to create the mold. After the silicone is fully cured (approximately one day), the master pattern is removed and the mold is reassembled, whereupon the urethane material is poured into the mold to create the cast urethane part.
BasTech’s Advanced Rapid Tooling Division offers the quickest, most accurate tooling technologies available today. Our center utilizes many different but complementary rapid tooling processes for creating plastic injection molds, stamping dies, wax dies, and diecast dies. Our experienced engineers will select the most appropriate and cost-effective method based on client lead-time, tolerance requirements, production volumes, and material specifications. BasTech’s Advanced Rapid Tooling Division can guide your project from its CAD model through plastic injection in as little as 12 to 15 days.
Advantages of Prototype Tooling
- Speed Reduces/eliminates human error
- Few geometry constraints–waterlines and undercuts permissible
- Creative design possibilities
- Cost-effective for complex tooling and multi-tool projects
- Can be plated, textured, machined, EDM (d), or welded (brazed)
- Superior in strength and hardness to aluminum
- Can also be used for creating complex metal parts
- Fully automated process
- Better accuracy and fewer size limitations than previous versions
- Durable metal molds for 10 to 20,000 injection molded plastic parts
- Consistent delivery and tolerance
- Developmental Tooling: 1.5 to 2 weeks, 20 to 1,000 parts
- Mid-Range Tooling: 2 to 4 weeks, 200 to 5,000 parts
- Low-Volume Production or Bridge Tooling:4 to 5 weeks, 5,000 to 20,000 parts
Could your company benefit from typical lead time reductions? Our rapid tooling capabilities, direct from your 3D data, are coupled with traditional tool-making skills and a responsive fast-paced working environment. We offer our customers a mix of technologies to produce prototype, bridge, and low-volume molded parts in production-intent thermoplastic materials. For larger prototype parts where strength and durability are critical, BasTech offers computer numerical control machining (CNC). This rapid prototyping process is enhanced by offering reproductions in acrylic, polycarbonate, nylon, glass-filled nylon, tooling boards, aluminum-filled epoxy, and wood.
BasTech offers the following CNC options:
- Larger material selection when compared to SLS and SLA
- Tighter tolerances when compared to other rapid prototyping
- Surfaces feature clean, crisp lines without the “stair-stepping” of SLS and SL
From Prototype to Production
No matter where you’re at in the manufacturing process, let us know how we can make your product a reality. From development to prototyping to final manufacture, tell us what you need, and we’ll make it happen.