Latest experiences with silicone


#1

Hi,
I need to make a hollow hand slightly bigger than my own hand (like a glove) and hollow fingers who fit over mine also slightly bigger.
The hand and fingers must be as natural looking as possible. In the prop world, this is done with silicone mixed with makeup pigment to look exactly like skin would.
As the process of making molds is expensive and time consuming and the result depends highly on craftsmanship, I wonder if this can be done with 3D printing so costs can be reduced.
If so, I would buy me a 3D printer / 3D scanner combination.

Thanks for all info you can give me on the subject


#2

Yes, this can be done with 3D printing, but there could still be some technical challenges to optimize this kind of printing. For your project, I would suggest using a 2-part silicone such that it cures upon mixing. Then put one part in the cartridge, and the curing part in a reservoir. Then, using a long needle tip, submerge it into the reservoir and extrude the first component. It should cure on contact if the surface area of each layer is sufficient. The reservoir material should support the structure as it is built up, which is important for a hollow, glove-like print. You would have to add more material to the reservoir as the structure is printed until the final layers are done. There could still be some minor artefacts (such as noticeably visible print layers) that may require some post processing or tuning of the print process.


#3

I would love to know what silicone would work for this sort of printing. I have worked with silicones (for life casting and special effects) for years but don’t know of any that will cure as rapidly as I would like with my 3D printers. Can you provide more information on the material and where I might be able to purchase some? Thanks.


#4

Would it be a good idea to start from an existing silicon medical glove stuffed with a plastic model of a hand?
In that case it is only the outside part that must be printed and the printed area would be well supported. The hand should than turn or can the printer print upside down?


#5

For materials, you might want to consult with the people at http://www.reynoldsam.com/, where I get many of my supplies.

If they don’t currently have a material for 3D printers, they may be interested in getting into that field.

I have found them to be very helpful with my technical questions.