3D Printing and Mold Making

I've been a conventional sculptor for most of my life. While I've for the most part, moved from clay sculpting to digital, I still crave the tangible; hence my keen interest in 3D printing. For the last decade or so, I also explored mold making and casting. Being able to reproduce my clay sculpture, proved to be very satisfying. Materials ranging from silicone rubber to urethane plastic to gypsum plaster, made up the majority of my castings.

 

 

Despite having for now, moved to digital sculpting and 3D printing, I maintain the desire to make multiple copies of my pieces. While I could merely print additional copies, there is the matter of expense and the relatively limited variety of materials available for print. 

Hence my next project I have on deck. I'm keeping the subject matter under my hat (think alternate history/Sci Fi WW2 era) but the the means by which I'm producing the pieces is something I've been yammering about to anyone who will listen, for some time.

I want to cut out the middle man, so to speak and rather than print a master that I would then create a mold from, I want to print the molds. Not only will I be able to engineer pour lines and vents, and registration points, the tolerances between the mold halves should be very high. One of the hardest parts of mold making is creating a dam between the two (or more) halves of the mold when laying on the material. It is not uncommon for the place where the mold components come together to have miniscule gaps, resulting in an edge or flashing on the subsequent casting.

I'm very excited about this particular project. Where as a few posted previously have fallen somewhat by the wayside, this one is a go. I'm in talks with a concept artist and am very close to procuring some of the equipment I will need. I will most certainly be posting my progress!