SOLARPUNK GIGAMOLD - PART 2: SMALL MOLD PROTOTYPING
The first set of tests to run is to see what kind of objects we can pull out of a flexible open back mold (the simplest possible mold design).
The part design as well as the mold itself was quickly generated in a 3D modeling software.
Multiple variants of flexible open-back molds were made.
Parts were casted in a cement hydrostone fiber composite to speed up demold time from over 24 hours to under 15 minutes. This way, we could go through dozens of iterations per mold per day.
Deep cavities could be achieved via this flexible single-piece mold paradigm.
Extremely thin yet strong walls could be achieved by adding 1-3% fiber by weight to create a GFRC mix slurry with 9000 psi compression strength that's also resistant to minor drops.
Since the molds were so productive, we ended up with shelves full of parts by the end of the day!
The next logical set of tests to run was to see if we could create multipart molds out of hard yet thin shells in PETG or ABS. This was a key test that could make or break our grand vision because TPU could not overhang cleanly & was also not dimensionally stable unless printed kind of thick. A thin yet strong shell was the only realistic path forward to creating a house-sized mold that's light, cost-effective, & also super fast to print.
TO BE CONTINUED...