Why choose Vacuum Casting (VC)?

Vacuum casting is widely thought of as a cost-effective alternative to injection moulding. It is a very suitable manufacturing method for low volume production of final parts without the prohibitive costs required for injection moulding tooling development.

Parts produced using the vacuum casting process are high quality. They are dimensionally accurate, precise replicas of the master pattern with profiles, fine details and texture faithfully reproduced. Castings can be painted and overmoulded to match the exact finish required on parts. This makes vacuum castings ideal for fit and form testing and also for marketing purposes.

Relative to other manufacturing methods, vacuum casting is fast as it uses 3D printing to create the master patterns and multiple components can then be made from this master pattern.  This results in savings on new product development time.

Another strength of the Vacuum Casting process is the wide variety of materials available which simulate the look, feel and mechanical performance of production engineering materials.

Unsure if Vacuum Casting is the right technology for your project?

View our process comparison table

Technical specifications

Standard lead time: 5-10 days. If your project is urgent, please let a member of sales team know so that we can investigate if anything can be done to improve the lead time.
Minimum feature size: 0.5mm
Tolerances: Typically, expected tolerances on well-designed parts are: +/- 0.5/100mm
Max part size: 1200 x 600 x 850mm
Machines: Variomatic 5/01, MCP 001 and MCP 003

Please note figures provided above are expected tolerances, we cannot guarantee part tolerance.

Materials

Product
Product

LPE offers over 25 Vacuum Casting materials including engineering & specialist materials, elastomers and silicon rubbers, ensuring you can get the closest possible match to your production requirements.

The vacuum casting materials that LPE offer provide a range of desirable properties including:

  • Flexible PP
  • Tough & Functional PC
  • High Temperature PP / PE / ABS / Filled POM
  • Chemical resistant
  • Medically approved ABS
  • Flame Retardant ABS
  • FDA Food Safe ABS
  • Water clear
  • Variable shore Elastomers
  • High transparency Silicone

 

Finishing Options

LPE has a team of experienced in-house traditional model makers and a full spray-painting booth allowing us to produce castings in a wide range of surface finishes and colours.

Vacuum Casting parts lend themselves well to a range of finishing degrees, meaning we can match the exact finish you require for your parts.

  • Paint finishes

    It is possible to produce castings to a customer specified Pantone/RAL.

    Also castings can receive a range of finishes including cosmetic, matt, satin, spark or gloss.

  • Polished Clear

    Castings can be produced in materials that can be polished clear as possible.

  • Post Processing

    Castings can be drilled or tapped and decals can be added to parts.

Finish Options Image

Applications

Vacuum Casting is suitable for low volume production and one-off prototypes.

Application Low Volume Production Runs of Final Parts

Application Aesthetic Models

Application Rubber Components

Application Customer Evaluations / Early market testing

Application Product Testing & Trials

Application JIT Manufacturing

Why LPE?

Our in-house additive manufacturing facilities consist of multiple vacuum casting ovens and a wide range of materials offering superior mechanical properties.

At LPE we are proud to have a highly skilled team of dedicated craftsmen, with a wealth of experience in the production of high quality cast components. The experience of our modelmakers, combined with our range of finishing techniques means we will be able to match the exact finish you require for your parts.

LPE are an ISO 9001 & 13485 approved supplier, with over 30 years of industry experience. If requested we can provide first article inspection reports, certificates of compliance and will work with you to ensure quality requirements in relation to your production requirements are met.

We are a supplier of 3D printed components to both large and small organisations across the UK & Ireland. LPE has the capabilities to meet all your requirements for both prototyping and low volume production.

Customer service lies at the heart of everything we do at LPE, from tailored quotes to a personalised service. If you feel you could benefit from chatting directly to an expert about your project, contact us now.

Learn more about why you should choose LPE as your preferred Vacuum Casting partner here

Learn more

How does Vacuum Casting work?

The Vacuum Casting process refers to the production under vacuum of plastic or rubber components from silicone mould. The process begins with the creation of a master pattern using the Stereolithography process. The SLA model is then finished/painted to meet customer specified surface texture. Where the customer has supplied an existing component for casting, any part clean up is carried out at this stage.

The master pattern is fitted with a casting gate and suspended upon the parting line in a mould casting frame. Silicone rubber is mixed, de-aerated and poured under vacuum into the mould casting frame, where it will flow around the master pattern, to create a silicon mould.

The mould is then cured within a heating chamber, and once set the mould is removed and cut along the parting line. The master pattern is removed before a casting funnel is placed and the mould sealed closed.

Customer specified casting resin is then measured and any colour pigment mixed, where specific colour requirements have been outlined. The mould is returned to the casting chamber and the resin is poured into the mould under vacuum to avoid any air pockets or voids.

When the resin has been cast, the mould is then placed in heating chamber to cure. Once cured the casting is removed from the mould, and any subsequent castings are produced (each mould can be reused with the number of castings greatly dependent on individual part complexity and casting resin selected). At this stage the gate and risers are removed from the casting and any additional finishing is carried out.

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