While 3D printing is great, when we need to make MANY duplicates of a product it makes more sense to create a mold and pour casts of the product instead.
This way, we can make as many as we like!
Edison Nation’s “As Seen on TV” product designers have been busy beavers in the workshop lately making prototypes to be used for filming in upcoming TV commercials.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek at the process behind molding and casting one of our recent projects:
The two halves of the mold (shown above) are greased up with a special lubricant called “mold release”. This stuff makes it a whole lot easier to pull the finished product out of the mold at the end of the process.
Mix it up
The liquid rubber that we will be pouring into the mold is comprised of two components that need to be mixed very precisely. We measured the correct amount of Part A by weight, then took some time slowly adding pigment to get the color right before adding Part B. Now, we mix and the clock starts ticking! We will only have about 5 minutes to work before it starts to harden. Talk about stress on the job!
Get outta here, bubbles, you’re not welcome here
One of the keys to a perfect pour is having absolutely no air bubbles in the mixture. So, the whole container of liquid rubber goes into a vacuum chamber for about a minute as we watch bubbles rise up to the top and pop. Good riddance!
Now that we went through so much trouble getting rid of those darn bubbles, we want to make sure that there’s NO introducing new bubbles to the mixture. So, instead of pouring into our mold from the top, we rigged up a syringe and tube so we could fill the mold from the bottom. This way, air will push up and out the top of the mold as it fills, rather than big air pockets getting trapped at the bottom. We poured the rubber into the syringe, then slowly pushed it through the tube and into the mold cavity.
Once the mold’s cavity is completely full, the whole thing goes into a pressure chamber at about 30 psi while the material hardens over the course of 4-5 hours. The air pressure means any remaining air bubbles inside will implode. Did I mention we don’t want ANY air in there?
Don’t break the molds!
Opening up the two halves of the mold turned out to be the hardest part of the whole process, but with some shims, an air-gun and a flathead screwdriver, we got it!
We made a total of 15 casts before shipping them off to the production set.
Look for these shining stars on TV soon! If you do, you’ll now know a little bit of the magic that happens behind the iconic ASOTV brand.
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