Rapid Prototyping using 3-D printing to Make Masters
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 effective.
Also, rapid prototyping using polymer clay (such as Sculpey, FIMO, etc.) is a good way to make your original master for casting.
The process for Rapid Prototyping:
Design your part or product. Get as much detail as possible.
Make a prototype. If you are using polymer clay, the process takes artistic skill. 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 big part is the software must be able to handle STL files.
Print your 3-D part. We have used http://www.zoomrp.com/ and with success. We have also used parts from Shapeway.com.
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 with a piece of clay to keep it in.
Make your mold as you would for any ComposiMold part.