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Liquid Tooling Materials Selection Guide

(Part 1 of 2: Choosing a Liquid Tooling System)

Mass Casting Thick Parts (Small Projects)


Mass Casting is the easiest and most popular method for creating a pattern, part, tool, or
mold. It is the ideal method for smaller parts and offers the widest range of materials to suit
any application.

1. For negative mold casting, a


mold box is created around your
intial model.

2. Material (usually urethane or


silicone rubber) is poured around
the model and allowed to cure.

3. The mold is removed from the


mold box and it ready for positive
casting.

4. For positive part casting, a filled 5. Once hardened, the part can be For parts without a flat side, a two-

urethane or epoxy is poured into


the mold and allowed to cure.

demolded; it will require additional


time to reach a fully cured state.

part mold is created featuring a


parting line.

Mass Casting Thin-Walled Parts (Small Projects)


Mass casting is a term we also use to describe the casting of thin-walled parts. However,
since filled urethanes like Repro tend to be more brittle in thin sections, we recommend
unfilled polyurethane elastomers such as those in our Freeman Polyurethane Elastomer line,
which vary in durometer from very flexibile (ie. Freeman 1035) to very rigid (ie. Freeman
1080). Also, when molding and casting thin parts, proper venting is critical to ensure that the
material flows throughout the mold cavity before curing.

Surface Casting (Medium Projects)


Surface Casting is a process of pouring a higher performance material around a more
economical core material (such as a filled urethane) to form a highly accurate, yet economical
part.

1. Sheet wax is applied to create a 2. A core is poured into the sheet


uniform thickness around the mold wax layer using lower-cost filled
area.
urethane such as Repro Fast. The
core is then allowed to cure.

3. The core is demolded and the


sheet wax is removed. Then the
core is suspended over the mold,
revealing the uniform gap created
by the sheet wax.

4. An unfilled urethane (such as


Freeman 1060) is poured between
core and mold to create a durable
part surface

Here is a cross-section of a
surface casting, showing a core
made of Repro Fast surrounded
by Freeman 1060

5. Once hardened, the part is can


be demolded; it may require
additional time to reach a fully
cured state.

Epoxy Laminating Systems (Larger Projects)


The most time-intensive process, epoxy laminating is a popular method for our customers
who need a large, strong, and lightweight tool.

1. One surface coat is applied and 2. Fiberglass cloth is cut to


allowed to reach the almost tackappropriate size.
free state, then a second coat is
applied.

3. Once the second surface coat


reaches the almost tack-free state,
apply a single coat of laminating
resin and lay up the first layer of
cloth.

4. Apply light pressure with a cut


brush in order to bring the
laminating resin through the cloth.

6. Once the resin has cured


overnight, you can demold your
tool and clean off the release
agent (PVA).

5. You can apply up to 12 layers of


10 ounce cloth in one session. If
more layers are required to reach
the desired thickness and
strength, allow the resin to cure
before laying up additional layers.

Glove Molding Systems (Medium Projects)


This process creates thin, flexible layer of material which is then backed up by a rigid
material, thus providing the stability of a rigid mold with the demolding ease of a flexible mold.

Paste Laminating Systems (Medium Projects)


This process is designed to lessen the considerable time required to follow the epoxy
laminating systems below. By replacing multiple layers of fiberglass cloth with a paste

laminate material such as our Freeman 1020, you can create a medium-sized tool in as little
as half the time without sacrificing strength or stability. (Coming Soon: Video for more indepth instruction)

1. Two surface coat layers are


applied as in the epoxy laminating
systems below.

2. Three layers of laminating resin


and fiberglass cloth are applied,
similar to the epoxy laminating
systems below.

3. The paste laminate is mixed by


hand and then rolled out to a
uniform 1/2" thick patty.

4. The paste laminate is cut into


strips and applied to the back of
the fiberglass cloth.

5. A final three layers of fiberglass


cloth is laid up with laminating
resin, as in step 2.

6. Here you see a cross-section of


the finished tool; note the paste
laminate in between the triple
layers of fiberglass cloth.

Repro Laminating System (Medium Projects)


This system is a popular choice for our customers who are making a medium-sized tool,
(approx. 1-25 square feet in surface area), and dont need the strength of an epoxy.
Advantages include lower cost, 1:1 mix ratio, shorter tack times, low exotherm, and ease of
application in areas of fine detail. (see video for more in-depth instruction)

1. One surface coat is applied and


allowed to reach the almost tackfree state, then a second coat is
applied.

2. Once the second surface coat


reaches the almost tack-free
state, a single coat of laminating
resin is applied to act as an
adhesion layer.

3. Laminating resin is mixed with


fiberglass strand until a dough-like
consistency is reached.

4. The mixture is applied to the


tool to create a 3/16" - 1/4"
backing.

5. As the mixture dries, it can


easily be formed by hand.

6. After 3-4 hours, the tool can be


demolded; it may require
additional time to reach a fully
cured state.

Liquid Tooling Materials Selection Guide


(Part 2 of 2: Choosing a Liquid Tooling Material)

After you choose which method is best, you need to decide which material(s) to use. Choosing your
material largely depends on your answers to the following questions:
How will this pattern, part, tool or mold be used?
How important is dimensional accuracy?
Is this a prototype or a production part/tool?
How many times will this part be used?
Will it be exposed to heat?
Will it need to be abrasion resistant, impact-resistant, etc?
Are there any special conditions this tool needs to meet?
Please keep in mind that the information below should be considered as guidelines and not rules. The
best material for your application will vary depending on the unique characteristics of your projecct.
This is why Freeman offers free technical support to all of our customers.

Flexible Mold Making Materials


Ideal for negative molds (mass casting), flexible parts and gaskets, plaster casting, and
prototypes.

Silicone Rubber
Self-releasing, therefore it reproduces high
detail
High temperature resistance
Excellent tear strength and elongation
properties
Much more user-firendly than latex rubbers
Higher cost than urethane rubber

Urethane Rubber
Preferred material for concrete and
architectural castings due to its abrasionresistance
Available in a brushable formulation for glove
molds/skin molds
Lower cost than silicone rubber
Requires release agents

Filled Mass Casting Materials


These urethane or epoxy materials are filled with glass, aluminum, iron, or other
materials, which give them unique properities and in many cases, lower the cost over
unfilled materials.

Repro (Fast-Cast Urethane)


Low cost
Fast demold times
Easy to use
Durable
Generates less heat than epoxy (ideal
for thicker pours)

Epoxy Casting Resins


Slower, variable gel times
Higher durability
Wider range of applications
Higher heat resistances available
Higher cost than Repro

Unfilled Mass Casting Materials


These urethanes are available in a wide variety of durometers, from very flexible to very
rigid. Although higher in cost than most filled urethanes, these materials are more
versatile and more durable in thinner sections.

Semi-Rigid Urethane Elastomer


Highest impact resistance
Highest abrasion resistance
Ideal for surface casting and foundry
applications

Rigid Urethane Elastomers


Variable gel times
Can simulate a wide vareity of
production plastics, thus creating
accurate and usable models, prototypes,
and parts without expensive tooling
Clear, tinted, and opaque formulations
available

Laminating Materials
Used primarily in larger tooling applications where weight and overall material
requirements becomes an issue, these materials offer a variety of alternatives for
creating inexpensive parts and tooling.

Repro Laminating Materials


System includes Repro Surface Coat, Repro
Laminating Resin, & fiberglass strand
Low cost
Easy 1:1 mix ratio
Fast 'tack-free' for quick tool construction
3-4 hour demold
Not as strong as epoxy
Not intended for large vertical surfaces

Urethane Paste Laminating Materials


Strong and lightweight
No sagging on large vertical surfaces
Ideal backup for many surface coats or
brushable rubbers (in glove molds)
Easier to use than epoxy paste laminate
material
Lower cost than epoxy paste

Epoxy Paste Laminating Materials


Strong and lightweight
No sagging on vertical surfaces
Easy to apply as backup for surface coats
Higher cost than urethane paste

Epoxy Laminating Materials


Variable gel times
Lightest Weight
Low cost
Longest working time
Higher heat resistances available