Vacuum casting for Louboutin mini-series prototyping
Axis has been producing prototypes in several 3D printing techniques since its inception. Vacuum casting is one of them and is an important part of our company’s know-how.
The vacuum casting technique is often favored to avoid or initiate more expensive productions by metal injection mold. Vacuum casting uses stereolithography to create a master model around which we will produce a silicone mold that will allow us to cast parts in polyurethane vacuum machines. Thanks to this3D printing technique we were able to create the Louboutin display with the iconic color of the brand referring to the red sole of the designer.
Christian Louboutin first launched into the cosmetics world with the creation of a red varnish with a spiked cap reminiscent of the heel of shoes made by the designer. The beauty part itself of the brand was developed since March 2018 in collaboration with Puig (Spanish brand specialized in the realization of perfumes and cosmetics).
Being a mini-series, we were able to produce this display for the release of Rouge Iconique, although we specialize in rapid prototyping.
To obtain this red glossy finish, it is first important to apply a glossy finish on the master model created in stereolithography. It is at the time of the mixture of Polyurethanes (known as PU) that we will add a color to dye the parts in the mass. Note that the silicone mold used for vacuum casting has a limited life span ranging from 10 parts (for the most corrosive PU materials) to a maximum of 30 parts for elastomer parts.
This type of part with a lot of details is particularly fastidious to produce in vacuum casting because it is necessary to be very careful when demolding the parts cast in the silicone mold to obtain the part. With this additive manufacturing process we produce the parts one by one unlike processes like stereolithography or powder sintering, we can launch several parts simultaneously. Vacuum casting is therefore a technique that allows to obtain parts with materials close to injection, with a finish and a rendering close to mass-produced parts, but takes more time during the realization.
The mini-series in vacuum casting is therefore at the heart of our business because it is an important step in projects that need to be tested before launching in injection and therefore in larger series. We have many materials ranging from silicone, to soft materials or close to injection materials like ABS. Also, some prototypes must have special technical properties such as fire resistance (ULV0) or food safety, which is possible with vacuum casting.
If you have any needs concerning the production of mini-series, before or instead of injection, do not hesitate to contact us!