Making Parts, Patterns, Tools, & Molds

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Making tools and molds, and casting parts and patterns is an art many centuries old, made easier and more accessible by many recent advancements in materials, especially urethanes, epoxies, waxes, and silicone rubber.

This series of videos started out as merely a complement to Freeman’s industry-leading technical support. But it has since grown to become one of the most comprehensive resources on moldmaking, casting and laminating, for both novice and experienced toolmakers alike.

We start off with the
fundamentals, beginning with a brief video introducing the most popular process for creating models--going from imagination to computer-aided-design software to CNC milling machines. From here, we demonstrate the proper procedures for sealing and releasing your models and molds, which is critical in order to prevent your creations from sticking to each other. Next, we demonstrate how to calculate your material requirements and the proper procedures for weighing and mixing materials. Finally, we have a separate segment on benefits of vacuum degassing and pressurizing certain materials for producing defect-free castings.

The next section demonstrates various mass casting processes, which are most commonly used in the construction of smaller molds and parts, usually less than 12 inches square.

First, we demonstrate the construction of three simple molds; one made from a rigid fast-cast urethane, one from a flexible urethane rubber, and one from a flexible silicone rubber, each with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Then we move onto more complex molds, such as two part molds using opaque silicone rubber, and two-part molds using clear silicone rubber. Next, we’ll show the unique challenges of casting multiple-part molds and casting thin-walled parts. Finally, we complete this section with a demonstration of surface casting.

The next section deals with laminating, which includes several process used primarily in the construction of larger molds. We begin with the basics of using surface coats, laminating resins, and fiberglass cloth. Then we demonstrate the Paste Laminating process and then the Repro Surface Coat and Laminating Resin System, both most commonly used in the construction of medium-sized molds. Lastly, we take you through the process of creating a glove mold, which is a unique two part mold with a rigid layer and a flexible layer of material.

Following this section is a brief overview of many of the products available from Freeman Manufacturing & Supply Co. In this section we also go further in depth over differences in technology, different applications for many materials, and some of the pitfalls inherent in various chemistries that every toolmaker should be aware of, giving you a greater sense of the wide variety of materials available to the modern artisan and toolmaker and helping you narrow down your choices to choose the best materials for each project.