reduce costs and shorten lead times with Solidscape exacting tolerances and precise detail

How can a manufacturer use a new and radically effective way to get things done, transform their process, reduce costs and shorten lead times without a significant tooling investment? Through the use of silicone.  But the challenge is to mold a pattern to create silicone tooling that is perfect in every way – detail, finish, repeatability, and castablility.

Because the Solidscape tolerances are so exacting and the surface finish and detail are so precise, a pattern maker can create a part or tool directly from the original 3D printed part with no costly post processing hand finishing.

Process Times - Conventional CNC Milling versus Solidscape Rapid Prototyping
Process Times – Conventional CNC Milling versus Solidscape Rapid Prototyping

TRANSFORMING RAPID PROTOTYPING – LSR and Solidscape collaborate, deliver parts in half the time

LSR is a global leader for enabling advanced wireless technology platforms with product design, from inception through manufacturing. By incorporating Solidscape® wax pattern masters and mold faces into its process, LSR has been able to cut urethane casting production time by up to four weeks while consistently realizing a five-figure cost savings.

“For over 30 years I have watched the birth and growth of the rapid prototyping industry,” says LSR’s 3D Lab Manager Jim Hollister. “The Solidscape process represents a radical shift in the way things are done … we are excited to give our customers the best of the best.”

Solidscape’s high precision 3D printed wax patterns enable LSR to accurately produce fine details and a smooth surface finish for complex geometries that have been impossible to achieve with machined parts or traditional tooling methods.

A repeatable, profitable process

Urethane casting is a prototype process for creating from one to 1,000 prototypes of traditional plastic injection-type parts. Solidscape collaborates with the LSR Design Studio Lab to create complex 3D printed industrial part wax masters. LSR produces silicone molds directly from the wax masters — no finishing required — and then builds urethane casts from the silicone molds. This rapid prototyping process takes a little over two weeks to complete, compared to a seven-week turnaround time with the conventional mold method.

Process Times – Conventional CNC Milling versus Solidscape Rapid Prototyping[/caption]

“The parts created out of silicone tooling, when done correctly, will be the best you will ever see,” asserts Hollister. “These parts will make people look twice to see if they come from a metal tooling.”

High resolution results

The Solidscape process is additive and subtractive. It lays down a very thin layer of build and support materials then mills off each layer, creating high resolution parts up to 5,000 x 5,000 x 8,000 (x,y,x) dpi. The Solidscape 3D printer’s tolerances, control and precision are vital to LSR’s silicone tooling process, as the silicone picks up every whisper of detail and finish. It needs to be perfect.

“Our goal is to make better quality parts than production,” asserts Hollister. “So a high quality 3D printed pattern directly relates to less finish time and better results.” Those results include happy customers, reduced costs, higher profits and shorter lead times.