Vacuum casting or injection moulding for 20-30 pcs?

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Hey everyone, I’m an R&D engineer working through the prototyping phase for a piece of lab equipment/scientific device. Specifically, we’re looking at producing functional prototypes of the housing component in the range of 20-30 pcs and deliberating between vacuum casting and injection moulding. The housing requires ABS-like plastic for its notable strength and flexibility. Given our need for this specific part and the small quantity range, at what point does vacuum casting become less economical compared to injection moulding for these functional prototypes? Would really value input from anyone with experience in vac casting / injection moulding projects for this scale. Thanks!

Resuelto porAnton Huryn

Initially, I would recommend using 3d printing for a rough estimate of the design. If everything is clear with the plus-minus design, then you can move into vacuum casting. Usually vacuum casting is beneficial for not very large parts and with a total batch of about 100 pieces. Further it is necessary to look at the economics. Usually we offer our customers an optimal price/quality ratio. You can make a request for a price estimate and we will gladly provide you with different variations of production of your prototypes.

    • M

      Hey everyone, I’m an R&D engineer working through the prototyping phase for a piece of lab equipment/scientific device. Specifically, we’re looking at producing functional prototypes of the housing component in the range of 20-30 pcs and deliberating between vacuum casting and injection moulding. The housing requires ABS-like plastic for its notable strength and flexibility. Given our need for this specific part and the small quantity range, at what point does vacuum casting become less economical compared to injection moulding for these functional prototypes? Would really value input from anyone with experience in vac casting / injection moulding projects for this scale. Thanks!

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    • T

      Had a similar scenario when we were making control panel enclosures from PX100 for lab gear. We had to choose between vacuum casting and injection moulding for about 40 units. We went with vacuum casting, and it was a win. It was cost-effective for our small batch and provided the flexibility to make rapid design changes. With the need to fine-tune the panels’ design, vacuum casting’s flexibility was a game-changer. Highly recommend it for such prototype runs!

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      • Senior Content Manager
        TechSavvy

        Exactly, the scale of production and the prototyping stage’s dynamic nature are crucial factors. If you’re in the prototyping phase where changes are likely, vacuum casting provides the flexibility to make those adjustments without incurring significant costs. Injection moulding might be more economical for large-scale production due to lower costs per unit, but for a range like 30-50, vacuum casting often comes out on top in terms of cost and flexibility.

        Also, keep in mind that vacuum casting prototypes often need a bit of extra work to get the finish just right, which could add time and cost. Plus, the silicone moulds used in vacuum casting don’t hold up as well as the metal moulds in injection moulding, especially if you’re making a lot of parts. This could impact your costs and how quickly you can get your prototypes ready.

        If you’re keen on digging deeper into this topic, there’s a cool article comparing vacuum casting and injection moulding here: https://xometry.pro/en-eu/articles/vacuum-casting-vs-injection-molding/

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    • g

      You also need to consider what is the purpose of the prototype : 
      – General purpose / Aesthetic sample 
      – Lab / test validation prototype..

      We often see customers and partners asking for vaccum casted parts during a lab / validation test. when mechanical / electrical / hardness (seals or haptic features) are needed, or for screwing / clips / feature validation..no other solution than final production process (whatever it is !). 

      Regards

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      • M
        gregory.demarque

        I see, thank you! In our case, it’s a combination of both, but with the current design/needs, it looks like vac casting is the best choice at this stage. Thank you for the input!

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    • Xometry Engineer

      Initially, I would recommend using 3d printing for a rough estimate of the design. If everything is clear with the plus-minus design, then you can move into vacuum casting. Usually vacuum casting is beneficial for not very large parts and with a total batch of about 100 pieces. Further it is necessary to look at the economics. Usually we offer our customers an optimal price/quality ratio. You can make a request for a price estimate and we will gladly provide you with different variations of production of your prototypes.

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      Responder
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