Throughout the UK and further afield, historical buildings form an essential role in maintaining the story of our country. They become iconic, telling the lives of the hundreds and thousands of people who walked through their doors. The restoration of historic buildings and the construction of buildings which echo classical architecture is something that we are proud to have supported here at 3D Pattern and Mouldmakers. With our key focus on quality and exceptional detail, we have been able to work alongside architects and cast stone manufacturing companies to ensure these buildings can still be built. This guide will explain and show how our rubber moulds are the ideal solution to maintain generational detail and style.
The Benefits of Rubber Moulds
As the name suggests, rubber moulds are manufactured from a rubber liquid which can be poured pasted on to a pattern to exact specifications. At 3D Pattern and Mouldmakers, we use both PU rubber and silicone rubber, depending on the project to ensure detail is kept exactly. And we have the capacity to produce moulds in all manner of sizes and types. Rubber remains a popular mould material choice for several reasons, including:
- Versatile enough to suit any project.
- Hardwearing and durable.
- Can be used for small and large projects alike.
- Very high levels of detail can be achieved.
Original V Modern Manufacturing Methods
Comparing the different construction methods used on both historic and modern buildings allows us to better understand why rubber moulds are such a suitable choice. In the past, stone carving was honed as a fine skill. This process, while able to create something entirely unique, was also exceptionally time-consuming and expensive. Employing modern methods, it is possible to produce a pattern which represents the item of stone and take a rubber mould therefrom, the beauty being that many detailed units can be produced in quick succession which brings about cost savings.
How Are Rubber Moulds Manufactured?
A rubber mould can be made by simply pouring liquid rubber over a form and leaving it for 48 hours before demoulding it. The framework built around the pattern or former is generally used as the mould carcass, alternatively a rubber mat can be poured and demoulded and the rubber form liner can then be positioned into a timber mould. An alternative method is to apply a layer at a time by brush to a pattern, this is able to be done by the introduction of a thixotropic agent which stiffens up the liquid rubber. This method has been used in the past for producing detailed capital moulds, once the predetermined thickness is reached, a GRP jacket is built on to the rubber, once stripped the rubber sits neatly into its GRP housing which in turn offers support and stability.
What Are the Different Types of Rubber Mould?
We have an experienced and talented team here at 3D Pattern and Mouldmakers who are on hand to ensure you achieve the best results from every project. There are 3 main types of rubber mould that we tend to use – PU rubber, Closed mould and silicone mould.
A pattern is produced and shuttering set up around it at a depth of 10mm and liquid rubber is poured onto the pattern. It is imperative that the pattern and shuttering are perfectly level before committing rubber to the pattern.
Here, a pattern is made but also a jacket is produced which will form the support for the mould. The pattern and the jacket should have a gap of approx 10mm, this gap will have rubber poured into it and left for 48 hours to cure. Once the jacket is removed from the rubber, the rubber can then be cut in order to peel it away from the pattern and placed into its jacket.
In this process, the material can be built up in layers to achieve its overall thickness, but it can also be used in the same manner as the PU rubber mould. The main reason that we would recommend use of a silicon mould over a PU rubber mould would be if there were any severe undercut areas or awkward detailing as silicon is far more suited to this type of work.
Depending on the project at hand, we will help to identify the best solution, ensuring it fits within your restraints and budget. Rubber moulds are a popular and practical solution for intricate stone designs. If you have any questions about this method or have a specific project in mind, please get in contact today and we will be happy to assist.