Low Volume, Durable Parts with Production-Level Quality
Urethane casting provides end-use, rigid plastic parts or rubber parts with production-level quality. Built without expensive and time-consuming hard tooling, our urethane casting process uses a 3D printed master pattern and silicone molds to deliver high-quality, short-run parts up to 30” long. The finished dimensions of urethane cast parts depend on the accuracy of the master model, part geometry, and casting material. In general, a shrinkage rate of + 0.15% is expected.
Cast urethane parts are frequently used when color, surface quality, and toughness are required. Cast urethane is a perfect alternative for insert molding or overmolding in low volumes with diverse material choices. Polyurethane cast parts can also be used for bridge-tooling between a 3D printed prototype and an injection molding with a balance of quality, cost, and time. Urethane cast parts can also be clear, color-matched, painted (including EMI shielding), have installed inserts, and even custom finished.
Cast urethane parts are often compared to injection molding materials. For example, a stiff urethane cast part may be described as "polycarbonate-like," and a more flexible plastic may be "polypropylene-like." We group our urethane materials into general categories to help you make quicker decisions and get the best performance on your project. The list below describes the categories of materials and technical examples when selecting polyurethanes.
|Material Name||Shore Hardness||Description||Technical Information|
Shore D 76-80
An impact-resistant Shore 78D material used for a variety of purposes from enclosure housings to concept models. This material exhibits ABS-like properties.
TC-878, TC-852, or equivalent
Shore D 80
A versatile, Shore D 80, clear polyurethane. A matte finish will give a frosted appearance and a higher gloss will increase its transparency.
Poly-Optic 1410 or equivalent
Shore D 78-82
A tough Shore 80D flame retardant material that is UL Listed with a flammability rating at 1/16" (1.6 mm).
TC-891-FR or equivalent
Shore D 65-75
A tough and abrasion-resistant flexible urethane with polypropylene-like ductility.
TC-872, HP-2270D, or equivalent
Shore D 82-86
A stiff, high impact, high HDT, material with a wide variety of uses. Simulates polycarbonate (non-clear), Shore 84D.
TC-854 or equivalent
Shore D 85
A stiff, USP Class VI, high-performance urethane with high impact strength and a HDT of 190°F (88°C).
PT8902 or PT8952 (FR)
Shore A 25-95
A Shore A elastomer with a high elongation to break.
F-130 to F-190 or equivalent
Clear Rubber-Like Polyurethane
Shore A 40-95
A colorless Shore A elastomer with a high elongation to break. Matte finish will give a frosted appearance, and higher gloss will increase its transparency.
WC-540 to WC-595 or equivalent
Parts have a smooth, satin-like finish due to the master pattern being bead-blasted matte. Clear and translucent parts with this finish will appear frosted. Matte finishes are useful for handheld and high-touch areas as it reduces fingerprint visibility.
A finish that includes some sheen but not high reflectivity. Semi-gloss finishes are in between high-gloss and matte, resulting in a smooth, easy-to-clean surface.
A highly reflective finish is made by polishing the master pattern before making the mold. High-gloss has a high sheen and will have the highest transparency for clear parts. High-gloss is useful for cosmetic models, cleanable surfaces, and lenses.
Xometry can provide additional processing, including custom textures, secondary finishes, painting, and more.
Polyurethanes can be blended with pigments to achieve a variety of colors. Naturally, a urethane may be amber to milky-white in color. Xometry's clear urethane options are formulated to be colorless. Below are Xometry's color options:
Urethane cast parts are perfect for low-quantity production—when volumes do not justify investment in injection mold tooling—as well as for first run production parts, which can be completed weeks before production tooling is ready.
The urethane casting process and relatively inexpensive tooling involved makes it easy and economical to make any necessary design changes. Additionally, different materials can be used with the same mold, making it possible to test designs with a variety of materials.
End-user functionality and a high-quality finish makes urethane cast parts ideal for consumer testing, user evaluation and concept models. Using the cast urethane process means that changes can be incorporated quickly for either further testing or market launch.
Urethane casting provides end-use, rigid, flexible, and rubber parts with production-level quality. The urethane casting process uses a 3D-printed master pattern to create a silicone mold that delivers high-quality, short-run parts as an economical alternative to low-volume injection molding.
Urethane casting is similar to injection molding in that it requires a tool with a cavity in the shape of the final part. The major difference is that urethane casting uses a "soft" mold made of silicone whereas injection molding using a "hard" metal mold that has been CNC machined. The drawback to urethane casting, then, is that the mold wears out more quickly. However, it is vastly more cost-efficient for low-volume and prototype plastic parts that require production-level quality and surface finishes.
The urethane casting process has 3 major steps:
Urethane casting has a low-cost and quick turnaround for high-quality plastic parts compared to injection molding or 3D printing. Where injection molding requires expensive upfront investment for the machining of the mold, the silicone mold required for urethane casting is inexpensive and easy to produce. Additionally, while most 3D printing processes require extensive post-processing to get to a near-finished state, urethane cast parts come out of the mold ready to go. Urethane casting is an excellent choice for creating high-quality prototypes or low-volume production of rigid, flexible, clear, colored, or rubber-like plastic parts.
+/- 0.010” or +/- 0.003” per inch, whichever is larger, is typical. Irregular or overly-thick geometries may cause deviances or deflection due to shrinkage.
A shrinkage rate of +0.15% can be expected due to thermal expansion of the liquid, and the response of the flexible mold.
Surface finish is externally smoothed to a satin or matte surface. Grow lines may be present on internal or difficult-to-access features. Polishing or custom finishes must be clearly defined and agreed upon at the point of order.
Sharp corners and text may appear slightly rounded.
We can offer urethane cast parts as large as 30” (0.762 m) long.
This table is based on the assumption that designs have an adequate draft, radii, and coring for manufacturability. Please see Xometry's Manufacturing Standards for more information on tolerances per process.
Choose from millions of possible combinations of materials, finishes, tolerances, markings, and certifications for your order.
Get your parts delivered right to your door without the hassle of sourcing, project management, logistics, or shipping.
We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and AS9100D compliant. Only the top shops that apply to become Suppliers make it through our qualification process.