3D printed mold for rubber prototypes
September 30, 2014

How to make a 3D-printed mold for rubber prototypes

Here’s an idea for manufacturing rubber parts and for rapid prototyping using a 3D printer. You can quickly build your plans on paper into real things made out of rubber by printing a mold. Will Harris, a product designer at Design that Matters, first created this pictorial how-to guide for rubber prototyping and we’re bringing it to you (with permission).

Will used this technique to create a workable, testable concept for a pulse oximeter booty. Pulse oximetry can help diagnose pneumonia and other respiratory distress by measuring the oxygen in the blood. One end of the oximeter clips onto an earlobe, a finger, or, in the case of newborns, a foot. It emits lightwaves and calculates how they travel using photodectors, giving it a reading of the blood’s oxygen saturation.

the Design that Matters team returned recently from a trip to test their low-cost pulse oximeters in communities in Haiti. In the right hands, the device can have a big impact because pneumonia kills more children each year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Design that Matters outlines their work on their Pelican project here.

This tutorial shows how to make a mold for a booty, but you are not limited to just one thing.

“In general, you could make anything out of rubber using these molds. The great thing about the material is that it is flexible, soft, yet also cleanable and reusable, making it great for contexts where disposable equipment is unaffordable,” Elizabeth Johansen, Director of Product Development at Design that Matters, told E4C.

This is how to make a mold for rubber prototypes using a 3D printer, by Design that Matters.

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Comments from the Community

1 Comment

  1. hanna.terry says:

    Question: I want to get a rubber mold of a real foot. Is there a good 3-D scanning product that can then be imported into a rubber mold?

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