Mar. 14, 2015 | By Simon

Unsurprisingly, one of the best applications for 3D printing has been in creating custom one-off toy designs.  Between being able to rapidly iterate on a toy’s form to creating a mold and ultimately, casting final parts to finish - it’s possible to create your own small manufacturing facility in a home office if you’re motivated.

For those who are interested in creating their own toys using 3D printing but want to explore creating designs in materials other than the typical plastic, designer Paul Braddock has recently released a video tutorial through Mold3D that gives us an overview of a process called cold casting.  To put it simply, cold casting is the process of mixing metal powders such as ion with clear resin to create a solution that can be molded.  

To begin with, Paul creates an STL File of a steampunk robot head that he has also generously provided as a free download.  He then prints the model using a Pegasus Touch 3D Printer by FSL3D.  The Pegasus Touch, which uses laser-based stereolithography technology, is similar to other SLA 3D printers including the Form 1+ by FormLabs and the Autodesk Ember.  The laser-based technology allows for high resolution prints that are capable of preserving a lot of detail - something that’s important in most small toy designs.  After printing his model, Paul cleans it in an alcohol solution and removes the supports.

Next, he prepares a plastic cup that he has sliced the bottom off of to use as a reservoir.  Once he has positioned the cup onto a disposable surface, he hot glues the perimeter of the cup to the surface to both hold the cup in place and retain the silicone that will be poured in.  While he still has the hot glue gun in hand, he glues the 3D print to the surface inside the reservoir to ensure that it doesn’t move while pouring in the silicone.  

Once the reservoir and 3D print have been hot glued in place, Paul mixes a batch of Pinkysil fast-setting silicone rubber, which he then pours slowly and evenly into the reservoir over the 3D print while making sure he isn’t creating air bubbles.  After approximately 20 minutes, the silicone mold has been set and can be removed.

Now that he has the mold, Paul uses equal parts ion powder and clear resin mixed in a cup to create the cold casting material - which looks like hot metal but is in fact cold.  

After spraying the interior of the silicone mold with mold release, Paul then pours the “cold metal” into the mold slowly and evenly again to ensure that there are no air bubbles.  He then waits approximately six hours to ensure that the resin and powdered ion solution has fully-set.

Finally, the last step is to finish the ‘metal’ part using steel wool to burnish it and if so desired, add a rust effect.  To add the rust effect, Paul uses an instant rust solution that takes approximately three hours for the full effect to occur.  After the solution has dried, Paul finishes everything up with a final burnish using the steel wool and the back of a spoon.

Whether or not you’re creating your own toys or simply just want to create a metal object based off of a 3D model, cold casting should do the trick!


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Allen Cooper wrote at 10/1/2016 8:51:49 AM:

Thanks foe sharing this information with us. The metal printing 3d printing is increasing day by day. We can do many new things using 3d metal printing. 3d metal printing is growing faster in fields like aerospace, medical, food, construction, space, etc. Companies like Exone .com, provide such kind of services. I think the day is not so far when we will have 3d printed mobile phones also.

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