Rapid Prototyping Using 3-D Printing to Make MastersShapes The ability to make parts fast and inexpensive is the essence of ComposiMold products. By using a 3-D printer to make your original prototype, it is then possible to make duplicates of your design quickly and cost effectively. ComposiMold and the 3-D Printer are a perfect combination!
The process for Rapid Prototyping with 3-D Printed Parts:
Design your part or product.
Make a prototype. With a 3-D printer, it takes knowing how to make a drawing in a 3-D CAD program. Their are a number of 3-D CAD programs available. Wizbe Innovations (ComposiMold) has used Solidworks, Rhino3D, and Alibre. Lots of others are also available. Some provide free versions. The most important part is the software must be able to handle STL files.
Print your 3-D part. We have used http://www.zoomrp.com/ and shapeway.com with success.
Typically, the 3-D parts will be hollow to reduce cost of the printing, so keeping the part from floating is a challenge. Add sand inside the 3-D printed part or use a piece of clay to keep it in place. You could also hot glue your 3D printed part in place.
Make your mold as you would for any ComposiMold part.
Rapid Prototyping by Hand/Sculpting: Rapid prototyping using polymer clay (such as Sculpey, FIMO, etc.) is a good way to make your original master for casting. If you are using polymer clay, the process takes artistic skill but the ComposiMold process is the same.