Cast Urethane Rapid Prototyping:
Steps to Mass
Rapid prototyping must accurately portray what a completed design will entail, and how a completed design
will function. The product may even need to mirror injection molded parts. Enter cast urethanes. This article
highlights the benefits of using this technology for prototype parts as well as short run productions.
By Alyssa Parkinson, Marketing Communications
Specialist, Solid Concepts
Rapid prototyping with additive manu- facturing or cast urethanes allows de- signers and engineers to check form,
fit, design aesthetics, and targeted consumer
response with regard to a new product. Cast
urethanes use plastics of similar quality as
injection molded products. Unlike injection
molding, though, cast urethanes use soft
tooling, which significantly lowers the cost of
production. This factor is why cast urethanes
are often utilized for rapid prototyping and
low volume production when product need is
partly function, partly aesthetic response, and
especially time sensitive.
A stereolithography (SLA) master pattern sits
in a completed silicone mold, directly after the
silicone has cured around the master pattern.
The SLA pattern was hand sanded, painted,
and polished to transfer a smooth surface to
( www.solidconcepts.com) QuantumCast
castings, are normally used for short-run
productions of prototypes or products—ten to
one hundred at most. Designers and engi-
neers often begin with cast urethanes because
the intent of mass production may not yet be
confirmed, the low volume may not justify
hard tooling, or there is a tight timeline to get
a product to market.