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Saturday, July 12, 2014

3d printing and molds

I am building a mock ships com center for a client and we installed fake water lines in the overhead.
As part of the pipeing I used some old pipes whose flanges needed to look like they were attached to a sidewall.
3/4"  bolts were expensive and I needed 20 of them.
The obvious solution was to 3D print them. I went to cad downloaded some bolts and printred a few. They looked great......
But....
They took 45 min a piece to print, that's a long time and a lot of wear and tear on my printer.

Alternative:
I went back to cad and designed then printed a two piece mold. I decided to use polymer clay as the medium. Good idea except the clay would not come out of the mold. 3d printing doors not really leave a smooth surface and the clay stuck like crazy. After trying PAM, water, acetone, laquer and sanding as a release method. I was about to give up. When I presented the problem tho my wife she without hesitation said;  "use cellophane"... Great idea, it worked perfectly.
The only other challenge was to hold the mold together while forcing in the clay.I solved this by making a form for the mold to be inserted in.

Procedure:
-Insert mold in form
-Lay in cellophane
-Slice clay on 1/4" strips
-Force strips into mold a layer at a time
-Insure that each layer is blended into the last.
-Push loaded mold from the form
-Peel cellophane from clay
-Add to cookie sheet for baking
-Bake and the bolts are ready for gluing in place.