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Rotational Casting, also known as Rotocasting or Hollow Casting, is a molding process for creating many kinds of items, mostly hollow in form and typically made of plastic. The RotoMAAK rotocaster was born out of the desire to have a process by which Makers could scale up production of parts using rotational casting technology when 3D printing a small production run becomes cost and time prohibitive.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The RotoMAAK rotational caster consists of a hollow mold and a rotational device that spins the mold in a uniform motion. The hollow mold is filled with a charge or shot weight of air cure resin. It is then inserted into the RotoMAAK where it is slowly rotated (usually around two perpendicular axes) causing the liquid resin to uniformly disperse and stick to the walls of the mold where it slowly cures over time into the shape of the part. In order to maintain an even thickness throughout the part, the mold continues to rotate at all times during casting phase and curing phase. The continuous rotation of the mold also avoids sagging or and part deformation.
The rotocasting process was applied to plastics in the 1940's, but in its early years was rarely used due to a slow process and restriction to a small number of plastics. Over the past two decades, improvements in process control and developments with air cure resin and plastic powders have resulted in a significant increase in its usage for part production.
The RotoMAAK rotational casting machine allows the hobbyist to experiment with different casting materials and mold creation for production scale-up of parts to meet customer needs. With the popularity of DIY 3D printing, you now have the ability to create a 3D object in a relatively short amount of time compared to the traditional prototyping or one off manufacturing processes. 3D Printing allows you to create one part faster than traditional processes, but not reproduce it as quickly as mass manufacturing technologies. With rotational casting, you have more options to reproduce many identical parts from a successful print. Additionally it is not limited to 3D printed molds (NO 3D Printer required!), you can create a mold from almost any part and in turn reproduce multiple replicas of that item.
One of the major advantages of rotocasting a hollow part is the savings in materials and weight. If a part's function does not require it to be solid, why cast it solid and waste materials? Instead of using pounds of material to cast a solid piece, you can cast it hollow with ounces of resin, which in turn yields a big cost savings in time and material.
The RotoMAAK also controls the rotation of the mold to ensure a uniform wall thickness that rotating a mold by hand cannot achieve. Some air cure resins,especially the clear varieties, have a cure time of several hours instead of 6-10 minutes. Evenly rotating a mold for hours would prove to be impossible by hand, and a rotational machine like this will allow you to rotational cast clear bottles, glasses, etc. for amazing special effects.
First we were looking at ways to increase the speed of reproducing 3D printed parts, either by using a mold that was 3D printed and cast directly from that, or by 3D printing your part and creating a silicon mold from that. However, after talking to many people at Maker Faires, other Makers and hobbyists in the community, and others with manufacturing experience and creative tendencies, we have identified even more niches and applications for this technology than we first envisioned. Many different people: doll makers, artists, model makers, action figure enthusiasts, can go from clay original to silicon mold to producing and selling limited edition reproductions. Candy makers can make custom and personalized hollow chocolate figures, even people making R2-D2 replicas with hollow parts that have been cost prohibitive to have machined. Custom bike builders can even rotational cast specialty/themed turn signal lenses.
The possibilities are endless! Rotational molding parts with the RotoMAAK can save you time and money, and is a bridge between one off part production and the cost of injection molding.
We need your support so that we can purchase larger quantities of parts at a time (thereby bringing down cost), in addition to the creation of assembly instructions, how to videos, and shipping kits and assembled machines.
- Motor speed: variable to 14 rpm
- Voltage: 12v dc gear drive motor with planetary gear reduction
- All pivot points and axes have 608 bearing for long smooth life
- Precision Laser Cut parts
- Mold Max size Capacity: 10" x 10" x 10"
VIDEO TESTIMONIALS FROM GLOBALLY KNOWN MAKERS
**SKULL BUSINESS CARD HOLDER REWARD**
ROTATIONAL MOLDED EXAMPLES
The WHITE HORSE HEAD is cast SOLID. 22oz of resin. COST = $7.70
The BEIGE and CLEAR HORSE HEAD were hollow cast in the RotoMAAK. 6.4 oz of resin COST = $2.25
A difference of $5.45 and 15.6 oz of resin! Multiply that times 10 copies = savings of $50.45!
THE PROTOTYPING PROCESS TIMELINE
5-1-13 Initial Laser Cut Design with Squiggle Cuts and temporary motor setup. No control knob
5-20-13 12v DC gear drive motor upgrade with planetary gear reduction. Front PWM Knob Control added. Pulley wheel upgrade
5-25-13 Experimental Knob Control added
8-18-13 Laser Cut Frame Base Upgrade. Pulley wheel upgrade
9-2-13 Laser Cut Frame Upgrade (No Squiggle Cut)
3-15-14 Control Panel Upgrade and Motor Upgrade (More torque and slower rotational ability)
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING BUSINESSES:
Steve Wygant (aka Part Daddy) and John Olafson (Oly) from SeeMeCNC
Mike Faupel and Alumilite
Brian Vandiepenbos from Laser Accents and www.tricklaser.com
Risks and challenges
We are beyond prototyping, so the only potential risks and challenges of this project are the capacity for laser cutting parts, depending on the number of machines sold. We currently have teamed up with Laser Accents, a company in business for the last 26 yrs, to laser cut our parts with three professional laser cutters. Our Team is more than confident that the service will be excellent. If demand is higher than their capacity, we have another company set up to cover the overflow production.
With any project, one of the demands will be on our current line of suppliers and their supply chain. We have worked hard choosing our suppliers to be as close to the manufacturer as possible, to close the gap between the manufacture and our distributor, in an effort to eliminate back orders of parts. Along those lines we have our "preferred" suppliers, with at least one backup supplier, that we have sourced for each purchased part.
All of the fabricated parts are sourced locally within 15 minutes of our location, so it will be easy for face to face communications with all our fabrication providers (both laser cut parts and machined). We even have our shipping supplier for boxes and shipping materials coming directly from the manufacturer, who happens to be minutes from our location, so that we can have better control over shipping cost for our supplies. We project that the first laser cut parts kit (Pledge Level $150) will ship in June 2014. The complete kit (Pledge Levels $550 and $699) will ship in August 2014 and the Assembled kit (Pledge Level $1399) will ship in September 2014.
Bottom line... we are not only striving to make an amazing machine for you, but we are striving to have one of the smoothest and fastest Kickstarters ever launched.
Mark VanDiepenbos - Co-Owner of TeMAAK, Inventor of the RotoMAAK
(Manufacturing and Design)
Karaline VanDiepenbos - Co-Owner of TeMAAK, (Sales and Logistics)
Phillip Briski - President of Zion Technologies, Inc. (Marketing, Sales, and E-Commerce)
Jennifer Harringer - CW Productions (Lead Web Designer, Graphic Design, and E-Commerce)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)