“Molding and casting” is a widely used process in jewelry making.
Producing wax models of your designs using a rubber mold is faster and less expensive than 3D printing each wax model individually.
We provide a molding service for designers who require batch production of their models in a cost- and time-efficient way.
How we make a mold
We first make a fully finished original master using 3D printing, casting and polishing.
Then we make a rubber mold from the 3D master.
This ensures better surface quality than making a mold directly from a 3D printed wax model.
Batch production using a mold
Once we make a rubber mold, you can place orders to make your pieces using the mold.
We then make high quality pieces by casting and finishing.
Advantages of molding
Making wax models from a mold takes only a few minutes.
In contrast, 3D printing wax models can take from hours to days, especially if the 3D printer has lots of other work in the queue.
Better surface quality
Wax models from a mold do not have print lines like 3D printed wax models.
We do not need to extensively polish the surface of the castings from molds, which results in better quality of the surface finish.
Production using a mold is less expensive since it is faster to make a wax model and the polishing process is shorter.
Making a piece using a mold costs 30~50% less than making it through 3D printing.
The savings in unit production costs cover the cost of making a mold when you produce more than 3~5 pieces of the same model.
- Example: Cost of making 5 pieces of highly polished silver jewelry(volume 1.0 ㎤)
||3D printing and casting
||Molding and casting
||$67 X 5ea = $335
||$39.2 X 5ea = $196
Most designs are possible, but there are some limitations.
We cannot make molds of 1) models where it is impossible to cut the rubber out properly during the mold making,
and 2) models that may cause porosity, non-fills, and other potential casting defects due to technical design issues.
Examples of molds that cannot be made are thin and long wires, hollow tubes, and hollow objects with small holes.
Thin and long wires are difficult to make with molds because melted wax may not reach the end of the wire when injecting the wax or may cause non-fills during casting.
Hollow tubes and hollow objects with small holes are not suitable for molding because we cannot take out the rubber in the hollow space while cutting the rubber.
Contact us if you are not sure if your model is moldable or would be subject to defects.
We can give you an expert analysis based on our experience.
However, it is at best a “guess” and to be sure that a model is moldable we need to test it.
We may reject the mold making order if we cannot produce a final piece that meets our quality standards.
Shrinkage of the mold
We use natural rubber molds. Generally, there is 4% to 5% shrinkage from the original master to the finished piece.
The shrinkage has been calculated from in–house tests and manufacturer specifications.
We scale your 3D model uniformly considering the shrinkage rate when making the original master.
The shrinkage may be different depending on the geometry of the model.
For example, a marquise shape changes differently than a square shape and outside/inside dimensions change differently as well.
Therefore, not only the size but also the shape of your design may change slightly.
We are not responsible for such changes.
If your design needs to be very precise, molding may be not be the ideal option.
However, for rings, our jewelers can make the final pieces in the desired ring size according to the original ring size of your 3D model.
Preserving texture and printing lines
We make the original master by perfectly polishing and removing the print lines on the reachable surfaces.
During polishing, tiny details may be lost or edges may be smoothed off.
If you want to make your original master without polishing and preserve the details including the print lines, please let us know when you place your order.
We will make your original master with the raw finish and you will see rough surfaces with print lines and casting lines.
How we keep your mold
We keep your mold in safe storage and access is limited only to our production manager.
We store your mold for 1 year from the last order, free of charge.
You can collect your mold at any time during that year.
Molds that have not been used for 1 year can be collected or discarded.
We guarantee storage of your mold for one year after its manufacturing date and will remake your mold at no charge if it has any material or manufacturing defects.