Urethane Casting

Cast urethane molding offers a cost-effective alternative when you need multiple prototypes that provide production materials performance or low volumes of production parts.

Urethane Casting

We understand that you need a partner to offer their services and expertise for your critical projects. Our cast urethane casting department can handle projects and parts that range in quantities, part size and materials. Our project managers and engineering team help in the selection of the appropriate process and material for your specific application.

Urethane casting offers a cost-effective alternative when you need multiple prototypes that provide production material performance or low volumes of production parts. Urethane casting is a perfect process to bridge the gap between rapid prototyping techniques like stereolithography (SLA) and hard tooling for injection molding because of its relatively low cost and fast turnaround times of a couple weeks.

Part made with urethane casting

Part made with urethane casting

Applications

  • Sales & Marketing Samples
  • Alpha and Beta production builds
  • Fit and function testing
  • Large-volume prototypes
  • Low-volume production
  • Over-molded parts

Industries

  • Consumer goods
  • Electronics
  • Medical devices/equipment
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Industrial manufacturing equipment

Urethane Casting Process

Creating a urethane casting is a manual process that combines new technologies like 3D printing with older technologies of casting parts from liquid plastic. Here is how it works.


Create Master Pattern

First, a master pattern must be created. At TTH, we make a 3D printed master pattern from the 3D CAD file. If a CAD model does not exist, we can use an existing part as the master pattern.

In both cases, the 3D printed part or physical part is used to create the mold. Master patterns will receive a Mold Ready Finish which allows the part to easily be removed from the tool. This mold ready finish of the master pattern is critical because that finish will be molded into the final urethane part. If there are specific finish requirements, like gloss or texture, we will add to the master prior to the mold.

Urethane Casting

Making the Mold

Urethane Casting Mold

The molds we create are soft tools, made mostly from silicone or urethane, meaning that they are temporary molds. Standard molds are good for about 25 shots per cavity. Production molds can produce more parts per mold cavity depending on geometry, quantity and material. For more complex parts and/or production parts, we will create a complete mold with a core half and cavity half (similar to injection molding). Each mold is created depending on the requirements for the parts and project. We make single cavity, family molds or multi-cavity molds all based on the most efficient process to get your parts done right and fast. Here are the different types of molds that we can create:

  • 3D printed mold – this is perfect when you need parts fast, functional parts that are non-critical, non-aesthetic and all that counts is function and quick delivery.
  • Soft Prototype Mold – Perfect option for quick prototypes or fast production parts without critical requirements. It is a great blend of quality, fast delivery and low cost.
  • Soft Production Mold – Uses higher grade mold materials for better, more repeatable parts for critical features and tolerances. Costs and lead times are a little more.
  • Hard Production Mold – Uses hard tooling (aluminum or renboard) for higher volumes and repeatable, high tolerance cast urethane production. Cost and lead time are much higher than other options but more parts per mold.

Cast Urethane Molding

For the urethane casting process, each process is defined by the material. There are hundreds of available materials to choose from that can provide the performance and appearance your project requires. Materials range from 20A elastic (rubber band) to 90D rigid (bone) durometers and depending on your industry, you can find UL rated, biocompatible, food safe, or non-imaging MRI materials. We can even custom finish your parts with custom colors, textures, and finishes right out of the mold or from our own paint booths.

Our project manager will work with you to make sure the material is right for ALL your needs from quality, performance, cost and delivery.

Cast Urethane Molding

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Urethane Casting Materials

Part created by urethane casting

There are hundreds of available materials covering the spectrum on durometers, colors and specifications. Most can be colored to match Pantone numbers. Here are some of the most common material that we use on a daily basis.

 

durometer scale chart

 

Other Available Material & Finish Options:

Learn more about available urethane materials or contact our project management team and they can review other options for your project.

Urethane Casting Design & Build Guidelines

Cast urethane molding is a very flexible process that can easily mold undercuts, thick sections, varying walls and parts without draft. Parts may differ depending on material, finish and geometry, but here are standard guidelines to work from:

  • Minimum Wall Thickness & Features = 0.040” (1.016mm) minimum walls and 0.025” (0.635mm) minimum features. (dependent on part geometry and material)
  • Standard Finish = Parts can be customized to meet your requirements for as molded or painted. (see more available custom finishes)
  • Standard Lead Time = 2-3 weeks for first parts, completion depends on part, mold and material chosen. (*Parts can be delivered in as little as 1 week*)
  • Tolerances = +/- 0.005” for first inch then +/- 0.003” per inch thereafter
  • Parts per Mold = 25 parts per mold cavity (depending on design and material)

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