Polymer Casting

Polymer casting is a process that involves the use of liquid polymer material, which is poured into a mold and allowed to cure or harden into a desired shape. This process is widely used in the manufacture of a variety of products, including jewelry, toys, prosthetics, and industrial parts. The versatility of casting polymers is due to the numerous types of polymers available, which can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of a particular application.

This polyurethane rubber wheel was cast in place on a 3D printed wheel. The mold is shown in the background.

The process of casting polymers can be broken down into several key steps:

Selection of the polymer: The first step in casting polymers is to select the appropriate type of polymer for the application. The type of polymer used will depend on the desired properties of the final product, such as flexibility, strength, and durability. Some of the most common types of casting polymers include silicone, epoxy, and polyurethane.

  • Preparation of the mold: Once the polymer has been selected, the next step is to prepare the mold into which the liquid polymer will be poured. Molds can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and silicone. The mold must be carefully prepared to ensure a smooth surface and to prevent the polymer from sticking to it. This may involve the use of a release agent or the application of a coat of primer to the mold surface.
  • Mixing the polymer: The liquid polymer is then mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve mixing two or more components together, or simply stirring the polymer to ensure an even consistency.
  • Pouring the polymer: Once the polymer has been mixed, it is poured into the prepared mold. The mold is then placed in a warm area to allow the polymer to cure or harden. The curing time will depend on the type of polymer and the conditions under which it is being used.
  • Removing the cast object: Once the polymer has fully cured, the mold can be carefully removed to reveal the cast object. The object can then be cleaned, finished, and painted as desired.
  • Casting polymers is a relatively simple process that can be carried out by individuals or businesses with a limited amount of experience or equipment. However, it is important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of both the operator and the final product.