As service providers, something beautiful happens when we work as a team with our customers! We believe you're best served by having us make the model for you, but if you would rather make your own model, then here are some things you can do to maximize your results:
1. Design and manufactuer (engineer) your model so it will cast!
Excellent castings occur when the designer has a knowledge of casting to begin with. Nothing is worse than having to call a customer to tell them (after they paid to ship to us) that their model will have trouble casting...well, there is one thing: the casting fails. We're here to help as a member of your team! Feel free to send a CAD file (check the "PLAT" box and proceed through the order wizard) to us and we'll provide a free evaluation to determine if your concept is designed to cast!
2. Determine the material that will be cast.
This is about strategy: We'll be the first to admit that we prefer wax (carved wax or Solidscape wax) over any material for casting. Getting a mirror finish on a platinum casting is a lot of work, but it can be minimized by choosing a material that will produce the best surface in a casting. It's one thing to have a really pretty model...but will it cast well? Many resins are challenging to cast because they don't burn-out perfectly clean, but then there's issues with the model expanding in the flask and damaging the mold/flask. Models that have lots of fine detail are best made on Soliscape printers because the models don't expand in the mold, allowing for maximum mold strength- even better than carving wax.
We understand that it's not always possible to produce the intended design with a CnC milling machine (we can effectively mill the vast majority of designs we receive). In those instances, we can help you determine that by picking the best tool for the job. Sometimes it's appropriate to make a model in pieces because it makes the piece easier to polish and finish. We feel the pain of the guy who has to finish and polish it! If you have a 3D printer, please consider the monetary value of smooth surfaces: finishing RP models can involve much more sanding, filing and grinding, and not only is that money down the drain, but affects quality as well. If you can make a good mold of it, do it and send it to us and we'll inject and cast.
3. Model Surface preparation:
Once a physical model is produced, many model-makers ‚post process‚ their models so the castings will be smoother. While this step isn't absolutely necessary, there are some do's and don'ts to abide by.
DO work with your model in a clean environment. If you have to use your repair bench when post-processing, put down some paper towels or a cookie sheet over your bench so the model isn't dropped in gold dust (maybe clean your drawer and flip it over/put it back into the bench upside down for a clean surface.)
DO handle the model with clean hands‚ hands that are full of polishing compound contaminate your models 100% of the time, leading to rough surfaces!
DO smooth the surface whenever possible (I use 600 grit sandpaper). Sometimes we‚'ll do this for you if it just bugs us too much‚ there's no reason to file a casting...well, maybe a sprue nub!
DO hold injected models up to the light to make finding air-bubbles easier. I guarantee a blowout for air-bubbles! Better yet, send us the mold.
DO lightly coat Solidscape models with baby oil. You'll need to dip & dry them as much as possible.
DO make sure your Envisiontec models are fully cured to minimize water content.
DO fill all damage (innies) that is caused by breaking off supports in SLA and UV RP models, otherwise you'll have to fill them with metal and grind down to their level. It's okay to mix RP models with wax‚ it's all gonna burn‚ well, maybe all except the inorganic material left over ;)
DO let Golden Sun produce your wax and RP models. Satisfaction guaranteed! Smooth out of the flask!
Do not use and orange/citrus oil-based products to clean the wax because it will produce horrible surfaces.