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3D Printing Service

Metal 3D Printing Service

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CapabilitiesUrethane Casting Services

Urethane Casting Services

Low Volume, Durable Parts with Production-Level Quality

Urethane Casting Services
Materials
Finishes
Applications and Benefits
How It Works
Tolerances
Casting FAQ
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Urethane Casting

Urethane casting provides end-use, rigid plastic parts or rubber parts with production-level quality. Built without expensive and time-consuming hard tooling, Xometry's, one of the leading urethane casting companies, 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. Urethane molding is a perfect alternative for insert molding or overmolding in low volumes with diverse material choices. Polyurethane casting can also be used for bridge-tooling between a 3D printed rapid 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.

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    Urethane Casting Materials

    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.

    Urethane cast handheld radio housings on demand through xometry
    Cast Urethane Materials
    Material NameShore HardnessDescriptionTechnical InformationData Sheets
    Material Name

    General Purpose

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 76-80

    Description

    An impact-resistant Shore 78D material used for a variety of purposes from enclosure housings to concept models. This material exhibits ABS-like properties.

    Technical Information

    TC-878, TC-852, or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Rigid Clear

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 80

    Description

    A versatile, Shore D 80, clear polyurethane. A matte finish will give a frosted appearance and a higher gloss will increase its transparency.

    Technical Information

    Poly-Optic 1410 or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    ABS-Like, FR

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 78-82

    Description

    A tough Shore 80D flame retardant material that is UL Listed with a flammability rating at 1/16" (1.6 mm).

    Technical Information

    TC-891-FR or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Polypropylene-Like

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 65-75

    Description

    A tough and abrasion-resistant flexible urethane with polypropylene-like ductility.

    Technical Information

    TC-872, HP-2270D, or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Polycarbonate-Like

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 82-86

    Description

    A stiff, high impact, high HDT, material with a wide variety of uses. Simulates polycarbonate (non-clear), Shore 84D.

    Technical Information

    TC-854 or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Glass-Filled Nylon-Like

    Shore Hardness

    Shore D 85

    Description

    A stiff, USP Class VI, high-performance urethane with high impact strength and a HDT of 190°F (88°C).

    Technical Information

    PT8902 or PT8952 (FR)

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Rubber-Like Polyurethane

    Shore Hardness

    Shore A 25-95

    Description

    A Shore A elastomer with a high elongation to break.

    Technical Information

    F-130 to F-190 or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Material Name

    Clear Rubber-Like Polyurethane

    Shore Hardness

    Shore A 40-95

    Description

    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.

    Technical Information

    WC-540 to WC-595 or equivalent

    Data Sheets
    Available Finishes for Urethane Casted Parts
    Matte/Frosted

    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.

    Semi-Gloss

    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.

    High-Gloss

    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.

    Custom

    Xometry can provide additional processing, including custom textures, secondary finishes, painting, and more.

    Urethane Color Options

    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:

    • Black
    • Color-Match
    • Natural (unpigmented)
    • Clear (colorless)
    Color matching and custom finishes are available through urethane casting services
    Urethane casting services for cast urethane parts

    Ready to Get a Urethane Casting Quote?

    Applications of Urethane Casting

    Digital manufacturing

    Low-Volume Production

    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.

    Fast parts and fast shipping

    Advanced Prototyping

    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.

    Xometry Illustration

    Market Testing

    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.

    Overview: What is Urethane Casting?

    The Basics Of Urethane Casting

    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.

    How Urethane Casting Works

    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:

    1. The Master Pattern: In step one, a master pattern of the final part is made using an additive manufacturing process. Polyjet 3D or stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing processes are most often used due to their ability to produce high-resolution and naturally smooth finish parts. The master pattern is typically hand-finished to achieve optimal surface detail before the creation of the mold tool.
    2. Molding: In step two, the 3D printed master pattern is encased in liquid silicone that cures around the pattern, with the silicone encapsulating all the features of the printed parts. When the mold cures, it is cut into distinct halves and the master pattern or 3D printed part, is removed. This leaves an internal cavity perfectly shaped like the part.
    3. Pouring: In the final step of the urethane casting process, liquid urethane or silicone is poured into the silicone mold, and the mold is then placed in a chamber to help remove air bubbles in the liquid material. For opaque parts, the chamber is typically pressurized. For clear parts, the chamber typically pulls a vacuum to mitigate any bubbles and increase clarity. Once cured, the silicone halves are separated and the newly formed part is removed. This process is repeated until the desired quantity is achieved.

    Benefits Of Urethane Casting

    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 an 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.


    Urethane Casting Tolerances

    Typically Cast Urethane Part Tolerances
    DescriptionTolerance Notes
    Description

    Distance Dimensions

    Tolerance Notes

    +/- 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.

    Description

    Shrink Mitigation

    Tolerance Notes

    A shrinkage rate of +0.15% can be expected due to thermal expansion of the liquid, and the response of the flexible mold.

    Description

    Surface Quality

    Tolerance Notes

    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.

    Description

    Feature Definition

    Tolerance Notes

    Sharp corners and text may appear slightly rounded.

    Description

    Size Recommendation

    Tolerance Notes

    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.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Urethane Casting
    Why would you choose urethane casting over 3D Printing?

    One of the most critical distinctions between urethane casting and 3D printing is material performance and quality. Urethane casting offers higher-performing materials that can better emulate those used in commercial products. In addition, the fit and finish are often better with urethane cast parts. If material performance and appearance are important to you, urethane casting should be a strong consideration.

    Why would you choose urethane casting over injection molding?

    The primary deciding factor between urethane casting and injection molding is quantity. Urethane casting is an excellent option for very low quantities (e.g., 50 pieces) of production-grade parts. Compared with urethane casting, injection molding will have higher upfront tooling costs that may not justify a low quantity run. Often, our customers use urethane casting as a stepping stone to test and refine their design before they invest in an injection molding tool.

    Why Choose Xometry for Urethane Casting?

    Massive Network Capacity

    Endless Options

    Choose from millions of possible combinations of materials, finishes, tolerances, markings, and certifications for your order.

    Instant Quoting Engine

    Easy to Use

    Get your parts delivered right to your door without the hassle of sourcing, project management, logistics, or shipping.

    Guaranteed Quality

    Vetted Network

    We are ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485, and AS9100D certified. Only the top shops that apply to become Suppliers make it through our qualification process.

    Xometry Image

    Download the Urethane Casting Design Guide