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A Comprehensive Guide on Vacuum Casting

Ultimate Vacuum Casting Guide for Beginners

When it comes to small to medium batch manufacturing, vacuum casting is among the most popular methods. Vacuum casting is more flexible, affordable, and agile in several other ways. It lets you replicate hundreds of parts in a shorter turnaround time. This process is agile and enables manufacturers to scale up their production seamlessly.

Compared to other processes, vacuum casting can deliver higher uniformity regardless of the number of parts. As it's an economical process, small businesses can also opt for it to improve their overall product quality. Explore more about vacuum casting working, applications, and advantages for your business.

What is Vacuum Casting?

A vacuum casting is a plastic-casting technique where the air inside the mold cavity is removed, thus creating a vacuum. Once the pressure difference causes the molten plastic to flow into all corners of the mold, it solidifies quickly and develops strong bonds with high dimensional accuracy.

This process is ideal for replicating complex parts. Vacuum casting has been a favourite fabrication method across several industries for years now.

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Vacuum Casting Technical Specification

Before you opt for the vacuum casting process, you need to know critical technical specifications that will help you get the most out of it. Below are some key aspects you need to know:

• Accuracy:

You get an accuracy of up to ±0.1; it's the lower limit for measurements below 100mm.

• Minimum wall thickness:

For better results, it's recommended to keep the wall thickness between 0.75 to 1.5mm mm minimum. It ensures the mold is filled correctly.

• Quantity throughput:

Up to 20 parts per mould

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• Surface finishing:

You get excellent quality matt and gloss finishing

• Maximum part dimensions:

It can produce parts up to 2m long.

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Vacuum Casting Materials

Two types of materials that are popular in vacuum casting: thermoplastics & thermoset plastics.

Thermoplastics are the most common type of plastic, and they can be heated and moulded into different shapes. They are then cooled down and solidified to create the desired product. Examples of thermoplastics include polyethylene, polypropylene, and PVC.

On the other hand, Thermoset plastics are those that have been hardened after being cured. It means that once they have been cured, they cannot be softened again by heat. Some examples of thermoset plastics include epoxy resin and silicone rubber.

HOW VACUUM CASTING WORK

How Does Vacuum Casting Work?

The vacuum casting process follows several steps to deliver the final output, and the overall process is relatively straightforward. Thus, we can divide the complete process into four significant steps:

Step 1: 3D Model Creations

To get started with vacuum casting, customers only need to send us a 3D CAD file. If customers don't have a 3D CAD file, we can create that as well. Once we have the file, our in-house team makes a high-quality master model leveraging advanced technologies and a robust vacuum casting machine.

Step 2: Curing Process

The master model is then cured to create a mould. It is usually done using thermoset plastics like silicone rubber or epoxy resin. The curing process takes a few hours to complete, and the results are impressive, with no bubbles or other defects.

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Step 3: Vacuum Casting

The mould is placed in the vacuum casting machine, and the air inside it is removed. It creates a vacuum and causes the molten plastic to flow into all corners of the mould cavity. As soon as the plastic solidifies, it bonds with high accuracy and dimensional stability.

Step 4: Post-processing

The last step is post-processing, where engineers remove the cast part from the mould and clean it up. Then, for meeting aesthetic requirements, additional surface finishing work is done.

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Benefits of Vacuum Casting

For both beginners and veteran professionals, vacuum casting offers numerous benefits. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

High Accuracy

Zeal delivers highly accurate products with all intricate details in place. When you work with Zeal, you do not have to worry about dimensional accuracy. With our high-quality master model, we can easily create highly intricate designs without problems.

Economical

Aside from saving you time and resources, vacuum casting is also economical for you as a manufacturer or supplier. The equipment is not very expensive, and the materials used are also quite affordable. It makes it a more viable option for small businesses and start-ups.

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Short Lead Time

The lead time for vacuum casting is considerably shorter than other traditional fabrication methods. For instance, products made with vacuum casting can be ready for delivery within a few days. That's because there is no need for any additional tooling or machining once the mould is created. Instead, all you need is the plastic and the vacuum casting machine.

Wide Range of Materials

Vacuum casting allows you to use a wide range of materials, including thermoplastics and thermoset plastics. You can also use different types of materials depending on your requirements. In addition, it makes vacuum casting an extremely flexible technique.

In addition, vacuum casting is an excellent substitute for injection molding ideal for low to medium volume production. It's because almost all the injection molding materials are available in vacuum casting and the surface finishing is also similar.

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Vacuum Casting Applications

Vacuum Casting Applications

Think beyond typical applications like creating transmission components or decorative parts. With so many inherent advantages, vacuum casting finds use in various industries.

Aerospace Industry

The aerospace domain is one of the most demanding for quality and accuracy. It is where vacuum casting shines with its ability to create high-quality products with precision.

Medical Industry

The medical industry is another sector that requires utmost precision and accuracy. Vacuum casting helps medical device manufacturers create body parts replicas with ease. These parts are used in training medical professionals and carrying out research activities.

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is one of the leading adopters of vacuum casting. It is because vacuum casting helps manufacturers to create high-quality components quickly and economically.

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Consumer Goods Industry

The consumer goods industry is where the aesthetics of a product play a key role in its success. For example, vacuum casting helps manufacturers create replicas of expensive or intricate designs quickly and easily.

Electronics Industry

Vacuum casting is widely used in the electronics industry for creating a broad range of insulation components in bulk and at affordable pricing.

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Get the Best Vacuum Casting Services in Australia from Zeal

Zeal 3D is a leading digital manufacturing company that offers industrial-grade vacuum casting services in Melbourne, Sydney and many other places. With years of experience, we deliver state-of-the-art products at affordable pricing. Get in touch with Zeal to know more.

Industries and Applications

The following industries are the most ardent users of AM technologies in their businesses.

3D-Printing-Automotive-Industry

Automotive

Lightweight aerodynamics parts are desirable in the automobile industry. This contributes to making cars more energy efficient. 3D printing in the automotive industry is used both for rapid prototyping services as well as for some end parts creation.

Manufacturing

The precision and accuracy of 3D print processes are helping the manufacturing industry reduce material wastage, save time, money, and efforts.

R&D

Rapid prototyping has become a crucial component used in R&D departments of leading businesses. It helps save time and money for the manufacturers.

3d-printed-Medical-Equipmemts

Medical and Healthcare

This is one of the most promising sectors for applications of 3D printing. Some of the applications include prototyping for product development to creating actual patient solutions, such as dental crowns, prosthetics, implants, human tissues, and organs, as well as 3D printed surgical instruments.

Architecture

3D architectural models enable businesses to showcase accurate details of projects. Architects also have greater design flexibility when they use 3D CAD models.

Jewellery

Lightweight aerodynamics parts are desirable in the automobile industry. This contributes to making cars more energy efficient. 3D printing in the automotive industry is used both for rapid prototyping services as well as for some end parts creation.

Aerospace/Defence/Navy

This industry was one of the earliest adopters of additive manufacturing. Rapid prototyping has become a critical component in the development of replacement and end parts in this industry.

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