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Silicone Molds? Who to contact/get foot in door for creating samples

WHY

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Hi all,
Been doing a good amount of research and I can't seem to find people who really do original silicone mold ideas. I'm attempting to create a new type of cup that requires a brand new design, but most silicone companies already have premade molds, are baking only oriented, or some other random niche. Any tips in general when it comes to sourcing something new? 3d printing? Doing it myself?

Any response is appreciated. Thanks all

Will
 

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Suzanne Bazemore

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Hi @WHY, I was thinking of 3d printing as an alternative, but you already thought of that yourself, so I don't have any new ideas. Good luck with your project, though!
 

Walter Hay

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Hi @WHY, It appears that you want to make a drinking cup out of silicone?

If that is the case, you will need an injection mold made. There are a number of very capable silicone manufacturers in the USA. Most will have some standard items but almost all will make a mold to suit your design.

Do you really need a sample? It will costs a substantial amount if you want it to be exactly as you design it, because that will involve making a useable mold.

3D printing will limit the possible types of silicone rubber that can be used, and they might not be suitable for your end use.

Walter
 

Abrodos

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What kind of object are you trying to make?
I've been using silicone to make molds of my pieces for many years, so I migh be able to help you.

Do you want to create a hard cup in a hard material (glass, ceramic, plastic) from a silicone mold?
Or you want to create a soft, silicone cup?

A good rule to remember is that if the object is made from a hard material, the mold has to be soft, and vice versa.

I'm a sculptor and have been making my own molds for many years, mainly to replicate my sculptures.
There are a ton of different materials and ways to work.
If prototyping/producing small quantities, don't think about injection molding, it has a $30.000 base cost.

Also, if the cup you're aiming to produce is something to be used to eat or drink, you must make sure you use sanitary-grade materials, which are more expensive and harder to find. Normal resins for example, will release harmful chemicals for a long time, also plastics (look up phtalates). You can still make prototypes and showcase-models from normal grade silicone or resins, to test the market, take product photos, etc.

I've been thinking about producing a line of silicone sex toys for a long time, but I've been having trouble finding non-toxic, body-compatible materials from my suppliers.
 

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Smooth-on for anything and everything silicone mold/plastic resin. Here’s some pics of a mold I made to cast prototypes/MVP’s, nice enough to sell in local stores.
 

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Do you want to create a hard cup in a hard material (glass, ceramic, plastic) from a silicone mold?
Or you want to create a soft, silicone cup?
This is really going to help us answer any questions for you @WHY!

It may also help you to make the decision on US v. outside country manufacturing as has already been stated that for any food-grade, medical, etc. it must follow standards and regulations which US manufacturers will have ready for you to verify on the website or through consultation.

Another consideration for you is whether this will be sold B2B or straight to consumers in which case made in the US will usually add to the USP for consumers. Or at least reassure quality and materials before they jump to question it.

I've taken to ordering different silicone products already out there to get a feel for the physical capabilities and experiment with adapting to suit my product but that may be unnecessary for your cup.

Watching this thread and thank you for the tag @ZCP!
 

Walter Hay

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There is some confusion about what is actually being molded. Is it a silicone mold for producing a cup from some other material? If so - easy and low cost.

If it is a mold to produce a silicone cup - much more complicated and expensive.

@WHY If your fellow Fastlane members are to help you, we need to know.

Walter
 
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WHY

WHY

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 31, 2018
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What kind of object are you trying to make?
I've been using silicone to make molds of my pieces for many years, so I migh be able to help you.

Do you want to create a hard cup in a hard material (glass, ceramic, plastic) from a silicone mold?
Or you want to create a soft, silicone cup?

A good rule to remember is that if the object is made from a hard material, the mold has to be soft, and vice versa.

I'm a sculptor and have been making my own molds for many years, mainly to replicate my sculptures.
There are a ton of different materials and ways to work.
If prototyping/producing small quantities, don't think about injection molding, it has a $30.000 base cost.

Also, if the cup you're aiming to produce is something to be used to eat or drink, you must make sure you use sanitary-grade materials, which are more expensive and harder to find. Normal resins for example, will release harmful chemicals for a long time, also plastics (look up phtalates). You can still make prototypes and showcase-models from normal grade silicone or resins, to test the market, take product photos, etc.

I've been thinking about producing a line of silicone sex toys for a long time, but I've been having trouble finding non-toxic, body-compatible materials from my suppliers.
Thanks for all the responses guys,
What im looking to make is similar to a collapsible silicone dog bowl - so definitely sanitary materials are needed. The things is, a collapsible silicone cup usually comes in certain sizes, bends a certain way, and is used as a certain tool. I'm looking to create a much smaller more unique version of that that can be in a different angle, kind of both down and "around" if that makes sense.
 
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WHY

WHY

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May 31, 2018
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There is some confusion about what is actually being molded. Is it a silicone mold for producing a cup from some other material? If so - easy and low cost.

If it is a mold to produce a silicone cup - much more complicated and expensive.

@WHY If your fellow Fastlane members are to help you, we need to know.

Walter
Yes, it would definitely be a silicone cup that is being made, not the mold.
 

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WHY

WHY

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 31, 2018
18
19
19
Connecticut
This is really going to help us answer any questions for you @WHY!

It may also help you to make the decision on US v. outside country manufacturing as has already been stated that for any food-grade, medical, etc. it must follow standards and regulations which US manufacturers will have ready for you to verify on the website or through consultation.

Another consideration for you is whether this will be sold B2B or straight to consumers in which case made in the US will usually add to the USP for consumers. Or at least reassure quality and materials before they jump to question it.

I've taken to ordering different silicone products already out there to get a feel for the physical capabilities and experiment with adapting to suit my product but that may be unnecessary for your cup.

Watching this thread and thank you for the tag @ZCP!
Thanks for the response. Yes i've wondered what the ramifications are between US and overseas in terms of just overall worthwhileness.

Because a silicone type material isn't necessarily "super expensive", and what I'm looking for is a more mass production type item, I may be leaning towards overseas. Again, coming from a lack of knowledge about silicone sourcing.
 

Abrodos

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What im looking to make is similar to a collapsible silicone dog bowl - so definitely sanitary materials are needed. The things is, a collapsible silicone cup usually comes in certain sizes, bends a certain way, and is used as a certain tool. I'm looking to create a much smaller more unique version of that that can be in a different angle, kind of both down and "around" if that makes sense.
Ok, so as I see it, the main problem to solve is making sure the design actually folds the way you want.
I'd make a sculpture of the piece using an oil-based clay (monster clay works best for me), then make a two -part mold. You should repeat the process until you find the adequate shape and thicknesses for the bowl parts, and then cast the products in different shores (hardnesses) for the silicone.
That would make for a testable prototype.
So the order would be:
Making sure the design works /any silicone will suffice
Trying different colours, tints, transparent-opaque, to make a prototype to show
If the reception is good, look for food-grade silicone and mass-produce 50-100 pieces.
 
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WHY

WHY

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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 31, 2018
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Connecticut
Ok, so as I see it, the main problem to solve is making sure the design actually folds the way you want.
I'd make a sculpture of the piece using an oil-based clay (monster clay works best for me), then make a two -part mold. You should repeat the process until you find the adequate shape and thicknesses for the bowl parts, and then cast the products in different shores (hardnesses) for the silicone.
That would make for a testable prototype.
So the order would be:
Making sure the design works /any silicone will suffice
Trying different colours, tints, transparent-opaque, to make a prototype to show
If the reception is good, look for food-grade silicone and mass-produce 50-100 pieces.
Thanks for the response!
Is this a DIY type situation or more of a work with someone to create. I know the collapsible type cup is already in production, how would one get a mold to copy that and then I can make the adjustments, just because I'm not sure if I can mentally wrap my head around a collapsible cup molding situation.
 

broswoodwork

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Thanks for the response!
Is this a DIY type situation or more of a work with someone to create. I know the collapsible type cup is already in production, how would one get a mold to copy that and then I can make the adjustments, just because I'm not sure if I can mentally wrap my head around a collapsible cup molding situation.
Here's a link to smooth -on's food safe silicone selection.


These products seem to be for making molds themselves, but I don't see why they couldn't be what goes into another mold to become the ultimate end product. (I could be very wrong)

The internet seems to suggest "grey resin" is the best mold material for casting silicone parts.

Disclaimer: I'm super new to this, so hopefully someone above has better answers.
 

Abrodos

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OK @WHY , if you just want to make a mold out of an existing cup that makes eveything easier.
That "grey resin" would be epoxy, but keep in mind that most resins are transparent so the colours are not indicative of any characteristic. I would use epoxy resin for te final mold previous to mass-production, but for the first mold I'd just use plaster, it's a much cheaper alternative.

I'd make a two part mold of the cup: one from the inside and one for the outside, so that the union between the two molds is in the rim of the cup.
Something like:
-put the cup upside down, stuck by the rim to a truncated cone made of clay.
-Make some cardboard "walls" that enclose the cup and cone, and pour plaster to make a big cubic mold.
-Turn it upside down, remove the clay, put vaseline on the negative cone wall, and pour plaster in the cup, so that it reaches the top of the plaster cube.
-Remove the second mold carefully, and you should have it.

There are many tricks, such as sticking out a piece of string on the inside mold that serves as a "handle" for easier pulling, or leaving some spaces between the pieces to put some wedges.

Once you have the mold, you can reproduce the cup in a meltable oil-based clay or in wax, and take your time to change all the details you wish as if you had sculpted it. Then you would make a second mold of this clay cup (the grey resin mold) for producing the final piece, again in silicone.

If you feel brave you can even use silicone clay to model on top of the cup and then make molds of the modified piece.
Here's a demo of this silicone clay:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK43D4gi-J4&has_verified=1
 
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Kak

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WHY

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OK @WHY , if you just want to make a mold out of an existing cup that makes eveything easier.
That "grey resin" would be epoxy, but keep in mind that most resins are transparent so the colours are not indicative of any characteristic. I would use epoxy resin for te final mold previous to mass-production, but for the first mold I'd just use plaster, it's a much cheaper alternative.

I'd make a two part mold of the cup: one from the inside and one for the outside, so that the union between the two molds is in the rim of the cup.
Something like:
-put the cup upside down, stuck by the rim to a truncated cone made of clay.
-Make some cardboard "walls" that enclose the cup and cone, and pour plaster to make a big cubic mold.
-Turn it upside down, remove the clay, put vaseline on the negative cone wall, and pour plaster in the cup, so that it reaches the top of the plaster cube.
-Remove the second mold carefully, and you should have it.

There are many tricks, such as sticking out a piece of string on the inside mold that serves as a "handle" for easier pulling, or leaving some spaces between the pieces to put some wedges.

Once you have the mold, you can reproduce the cup in a meltable oil-based clay or in wax, and take your time to change all the details you wish as if you had sculpted it. Then you would make a second mold of this clay cup (the grey resin mold) for producing the final piece, again in silicone.

If you feel brave you can even use silicone clay to model on top of the cup and then make molds of the modified piece.
Here's a demo of this silicone clay:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK43D4gi-J4&has_verified=1
A lot of great info, but to be honest I feel like at that point I'd be working far too much into the business. Of course intellectually understanding it I get, but I think ordering all the supplies and having to do 10-20 crappy jobs to even get some sort of semblence of a cup isn't me working "on" a business. Moreso, where are the people that will do this for me so I can focus on the overall aspects of building the brand? I'm not one to understand the engineering behind shaping, molding, and creating collapsible aspects of silicone you know? I could maybe make a donut, but one that bends and manipulates to the user may take me years to learn. I really appreciate the info, but it may be a little too hands on. Of course if I'm being an idiot let me know as well.
 

Abrodos

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Yeah I understand, making molds looks easy but there are plenty of procedural details and tricks that are learned over the years.

If you want I could help you with the prototype and master mold, I do that kind of work on a regular basis, so I could send you the master mold for your production, even make a small batch of showcase pieces if you needed them.
The only problems are I'm in Spain, so shipping costs to the US might be high, and I'm not available until January.

If you know someone in the film industry near you, you could ask for SFX makeup people, as they are very used to working with these materials, mold making and silicone casting for their prosthetics.
 

broswoodwork

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Yeah I understand, making molds looks easy but there are plenty of procedural details and tricks that are learned over the years.

If you want I could help you with the prototype and master mold, I do that kind of work on a regular basis, so I could send you the master mold for your production, even make a small batch of showcase pieces if you needed them.
The only problems are I'm in Spain, so shipping costs to the US might be high, and I'm not available until January.

If you know someone in the film industry near you, you could ask for SFX makeup people, as they are very used to working with these materials, mold making and silicone casting for their prosthetics.
What type of rate do you charge for sculpting a prototype and creating a mold, and is this an open offer?
 

Abrodos

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What type of rate do you charge for sculpting a prototype and creating a mold, and is this an open offer?
I normally charge 20€/hour, even though I'm trying to raise it a bit to 25 or 30, but I'm having some trouble, because it's difficult to raise the price to regular customers.

A small sculpture can be between 7 to 15 hours of work, so about 200€. A prototype for an industrial piece might be a bit more expensive, since more hours are needed to attain smooth, perfect finishing by hand.
Then for the mold, maybe 2/3 hours of work + 50€ of materials.
And for the cast it's the same, maybe 10-15 minutes per piece + materials.

Then you should add +21% VAT (spanish taxes) and shipping. And convert everything to dollars.


And yes, I'm open to comissions from anyone :)
 

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broswoodwork

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I normally charge 20€/hour, even though I'm trying to raise it a bit to 25 or 30, but I'm having some trouble, because it's difficult to raise the price to regular customers.

A small sculpture can be between 7 to 15 hours of work, so about 200€. A prototype for an industrial piece might be a bit more expensive, since more hours are needed to attain smooth, perfect finishing by hand.
Then for the mold, maybe 2/3 hours of work + 50€ of materials.
And for the cast it's the same, maybe 10-15 minutes per piece + materials.

Then you should add +21% VAT (spanish taxes) and shipping. And convert everything to dollars.


And yes, I'm open to comissions from anyone :)
I don't want to hijack the thread, but can I send you a message this afternoon (buried in work presently) with some questions and pics?

Your artistic work is absolutely stunning, so I'm not sure if you'd even look at my super basic project, but having a seasoned pro would shave at least a month off of my learning curve.
 

broswoodwork

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Here's a link to smooth -on's food safe silicone selection.


These products seem to be for making molds themselves, but I don't see why they couldn't be what goes into another mold to become the ultimate end product. (I could be very wrong)

The internet seems to suggest "grey resin" is the best mold material for casting silicone parts.

Disclaimer: I'm super new to this, so hopefully someone above has better answers.
Smooth-on has fast shipping too!
 

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