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Parametric open-face mold generator for OpenSCAD

by jasonwebb, published

Parametric open-face mold generator for OpenSCAD by jasonwebb Nov 26, 2012

Description

A pair of OpenSCAD scripts that can be used to generate either positive and negative open-face molds from arbitrary STL models.

The positive open-face mold generator script takes your external STL model and combines it with a solid, flat base with or without walls.

The negative open-face mold generator script takes your model and subtracts it from a solid base, leaving an indentation in the form of your model. You can use this script to create ice-cube trays by arranging multiple models in a single STL input file!

I have included sample input and output files that you can use for inspiration, but there is much more you could do that I haven't documented. If you come up with a new use for these scripts, please post a photo and/or make a derivative!

I've provided some more information on my blog at: jason-webb.info/2012/11/making-3d-printable-open-face-molds-with-openscad-casting-experiments/

Recent Comments

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Could be the STL - keep an eye out for errors in the console. Repair the model using Meshmixer or netfabb, and possibility decimate the faces in Meshlab if it is a very detailed model with curves. If you hit F11 in OpenSCAD (after you've done a full "Compile and Render" with F6), you will get a wireframe view. Perhaps the model is being subtracted, but is hidden inside the cube.

Thank you for your help. I already printed the part, and it works, but I need a solid mold. I can import with import("filenam.stl"); and it appears on openscad fine, even if I make a union with some cube, for example. But using difference cube - imported filenamed, just shows the cube. Maybe it is my stl problem?
Thank you!

Check out the "Instructions" tab for this thing for some basic help. You will need to verify that your model is 3D-printable outside of OpenSCAD, then make sure you know it's size and orientation. You can try manually importing the STL with a separate OpenSCAD script just to make sure it works, then bring it into this script to make your mold. OpenSCAD can be tricky for beginners, so if you haven't used it before I recommend trying out some simpler scripts to get a feel for what is going on.

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Instructions

## Prepare a model to create a mold from
To create an open-face mold using these scripts, you first need to prepare an STL model of your choice. OpenSCAD has some performance limitations when it comes to loading external STL files, so keep your polygon counts as low as you can. I like to use Meshlab's "Quadric Edge Collapse Decimation" filter (under the "Remeshing, Simplification and Reconstruction" section) to reduce the number of faces in more complex models to get them to load in OpenSCAD.

Avoid undercuts and overhangs in your model, as this mold-making process doesn't really allow for that.

## Using the scripts
1. Download one of the .scad files and open it in OpenSCAD.
2. Update the parameters in the script to point to your model, as well as transform it to be suitable for printing.
3. Compile and Render (F6) the script with your updated parameters.
4. Grab an STL using the "Design > Export as STL" tool.

## Guide to parameters
* _Model parameters_ - external STL model to build mold around. Use the rotation, translation and scale parameters to orient your model relative to the mold.
* _Mold parameters_ - attributes of the mold itself. Make it any size you want, and turn on or off rounded corners to help with printability.
* _Wall parameters_ - toggle walls and alter thickness and height of all walls
* _Removable wall parameters_ - make one wall of the mold removable by adding a slot and separate wall to slide in. Be sure to use adequate wall thickness for this to work.

## Using the removable wall
Though I did include the option to make one wall of the mold removable in the "positive" script, you should consider whether you need it or not. I intended it as a way to make the demolding process easier, especially for tall molds or stubborn casting material. If you decide to use a removable wall, you may want to beef up the walls a bit. I recommend using modelling clay on the outside of the mold to secure the wall in place and prevent leaking.

Comments

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ojaneri on Dec 12, 2013 said:

Hi! I am trying to make a negative mold from this http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... but I cant. It just shows the cube without any mold in it. Can anyone help me and point for the paramaters in this model?

Thank you.

jasonwebb on Dec 12, 2013 said:

Check out the "Instructions" tab for this thing for some basic help. You will need to verify that your model is 3D-printable outside of OpenSCAD, then make sure you know it's size and orientation. You can try manually importing the STL with a separate OpenSCAD script just to make sure it works, then bring it into this script to make your mold. OpenSCAD can be tricky for beginners, so if you haven't used it before I recommend trying out some simpler scripts to get a feel for what is going on.

cassetti on Mar 6, 2013 said:

THANK YOU!! I have been experimenting with the home made form of Sugru - Oogoo (100% silicon caulk + corn starch) and was trying to make molds from my models. Your positive open face mold worked perfectly!

jasonwebb on Mar 6, 2013 said:

Glad you find it useful! Check out the work that cerebus333 is doing with using similar molds to cast objects using Oogoo, he's been having some good success: http://www.thingiverse.com/cer...

owenscenic on Jan 10, 2013 said:

Can this be combined with the new customizer feature of Thingiverse?

tbuser on Jan 10, 2013 said:

Once we add ability to import STL files into Customizer, yes. Right now, no.

TheNewHobbyist on Nov 26, 2012 said:

This is a really awesome idea. Nice work!

yzorg on Nov 26, 2012 said:

awesome idea generating a script for this.
deserve as Feature

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