Plastic Prototyping Services
Plastic Prototyping Services
As a typical required step in the design validation process, Badger Prototype offers several plastic prototyping services. These include thermoforming, plastic injection molding, and urethane casting. For thermoformed parts, we can machine and build the tooling, and vacuum-form your parts. By utilizing our urethane casting process, we can create multiple prototypes of injection molded components. In addition, we can take a part that was created in our CNC machining centers or through SLA and SLS processes, and create multiple copies using RTV Silicone Molds.
Over the past 30 years, we have been refining our processes to output the most effective results, which is why you can expect turnaround times in days instead of weeks.
What is the Thermoforming Process?
The thermoforming process starts out by taking a flat plastic sheet, heating it, then using pressure/vacuum to form it around a mold. The end result is a complex 3D shape. Flat Plastic Sheet + heat + pressure + stretching = thermoformed part. Thermoforming is most commonly used in scenarios where complex plastic parts are needed in moderate volumes with high shape complexity and relatively low tooling cost.
Low Mold Costs
- Compared to other plastic prototyping methods, thermoforming provides lower production tool costs. The larger the tool, the more favorable thermoforming is in terms of cost.
Short Lead Time
- Production tooling for thermoforming is typically shorter than other plastic prototyping methods. In situations where time is crucial, this could be your determining factor in a molding process decision.
What is the Injection Molding Process?
The injection molding process requires the use of an injection molding machine, raw plastic material, and a mold. The raw plastic is inserted into the molding machine where it is melted. Once melted, it is injected into the mold where it will cool and solidify to its final form.
- Once a mold has been approved and finalized, the injection molding process can output a high production rate, making it a fast and efficient production method.
Complex Part Design
- If the part design is developed correctly, injection molding can create thousands of complex uniform looking parts.
What is the Urethane Casting Process?
Similarly to injection molding, urethane casting also utilizes liquid plastic which gets poured into the final mold. The key difference is instead of using a hard CNC machined mold, urethane casting uses a soft mold created in silicone.
- Unlike injection molding where a machined part is required for the mold, urethane casting’s silicone mold is typically inexpensive and easy to produce, making it a perfect choice for low-volume part quantities.
- By using a variety of materials to produce parts, the silicone molds return exceptional surface finish detail. Production colors and textures can also be accurately reproduced.