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Silicone Design Limitations: Is there a minimum/maximum dimension that is achievable or surface finish that is unattainable?

Silicone, especially liquid silicone will conform well to just about any mold shape that can be dreamed up, the difficulty is typically in the mold making process. In the prototyping sector, we see a lot of cutting edge design concepts that push the envelope with features that are very small and precise. Every molder has their own specialty and also their own limitations. At Albright we specialize in quick-turn micro medical device parts molded in liquid silicone rubber. One design limitation that we frequently contend with is the size and geometry of micro features, we like to use "The 3X Rule", which basically means that if you have a microscopic opening in your part design (which would be reflective of a raised boss in the mold) the overall height of that feature shouldn't exceed three times the diameter (or side length) of the feature. That would mean that if you wanted to form a 0.005" diameter hole in your molded part, you wouldn't want to go much more than 0.015" deep into the part, from a tool making standpoint.

 

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Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor joined the Albright Technologies team in September of 2014. Previously, he worked in the plastics and rubber industries for 7 years in multiple sales, marketing and management roles. Ryan received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Clark University in 2009. At Albright, Ryan works to increase business development through multiple marketing channels and networking within the industries that the company serves. In his spare time outside of work, Ryan enjoys skiing, driving and travelling.

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