Prototype Silicone Gaskets & Pads, Gasket Prototyping

Custom waterjet cut partIn the fast paced design and development environment, Stockwell Elastomerics recognizes the importance for strategic customers to prove their concepts through fast and affordable rapid prototyping. Using production representative processes, standard material catalogue, and rapid response processes, Stockwell Elastomerics creates production quality prototypes capable of being used for simulated or real qualification testing.

Stockwell Elastomerics offers a variety of prototype silicone gaskets.

Prototype making progression diagram

Prototype gasket making progression: The top part is the drawing, the yellow and red lines and arrows trace the path of the part, and the gray part is the part that was created.

Material options available range from solid silicone, silicone foam and silicone sponge, to more specialized selections such as electrically conductive silicone, thermally conductive silicone and fluorosilicone.

Contact Stockwell Elastomerics for Prototype Silicone Gaskets & Pads and Rapid Response Gasket Prototyping

Contact Us for further assistance with rapid prototyping for silicone gaskets and pads.

Gasket Prototype Materials

Material offerings can be provided as follows:

  1. Material sample swatches, usually 6″ x 6″ plain material or laminated with a specific pressure sensitive adhesive selected for the application environment
  2. Fully functional, custom cut rapid prototype gaskets, per a provided print or specific dimensions (PDF or DXF format preferred)

Quick Turn Manufacturing / Gasket Prototyping Methods and Technologies

Prototyping Methods and Technologies
Process Tooling Tolerances Prototype Part Quantity Leadtime Scalable to Mass Production
Lamination None Material tolerances apply As quickly as 1 day Yes
Waterjet Cutting None +/-0.010 on small features As quickly as 1 day Yes, for small-medium volume
CNC Knife Cutting None +/-0.010 on small features As quickly as 1 day Yes, for small-medium volume
Liquid Injection Molding (LIM) Quick tooling available ARPM A3 First samples as quickly as 4-8 weeks Yes
3D Printed Silicone None Poor Small quantities – 2 weeks No

Silicone sponge gasket assortmentStockwell Elastomerics’ quick turn manufacturing processes have a short set-up time that allows for small run rapid prototype gasketing for even one part. Applications engineers can assist in Design For Manufacturing (DFM) discussions to determine the best material choice and corresponding manufacturing process to fit project requirements. This includes considerations as to the function, project volumes and potential project budget. With this quick response manufacturing done on-site in Philadelphia, prototype silicone parts may be processed within a day in some cases.

Rapid response manufacturing techniques utilized include, but are not limited to:

  • Tool-less waterjet cutting and non-waterjet cutting – Quick setup, tool-less cutting, tight tolerance control, prototype part quantities available in as little as 1 day
  • Small volume molding – Longer setup, simple tooling options available, tight tolerance control, parts available in as little as 5 weeks
  • 3D printing – Quick setup, tool-less, slow to print and currently poor surface finish/tolerances

Stock vs. Custom Laminations

Vibration PadsStockwell Elastomerics inventories one of the largest selections of silicone foam, silicone sponge, and solid silicone sheet of any fabricator/converter in the USA.  Using this inventory of over 1000 SKUs, quick turn lamination samples can be made using proprietary small batch technology in swatches as up to 6” x 6”.

This proprietary technology can quickly make samples using acrylic or silicone adhesive backing.  In situations where the final geometry is under design review, material samples allow customers to touch and test the custom laminations quicker than any competitors. Common material laminations are stocked for even faster delivery.

In addition to adhesive lamination, Stockwell Elastomerics can create custom hybrid laminations using different material types, densities or unique films like PTFE. These hybrid solutions allow for flexibility in key mission critical programs.  The hybrid composite provides the best of both worlds – high temperature range, compression set resistance of silicone, and properties the specialty item provides like low friction, electrical or thermal conductivity, etc.

New Technologies: 3D Printing of Silicone

3D-printed silicone part with honeycomb layers

3D-printed silicone part with honeycomb layers

To keep up with its customers in the advanced technology sector, Stockwell Elastomerics stays on the cutting edge of silicone development.  Recent developments in silicone 3D printing have challenged current prototyping methodologies. Despite difficulties presented in the 3D printing process for dynamic materials, advancements in the levels of fidelity for silicone parts have increased the practicality of this technology.

Stockwell Elastomerics offers this for a select number of customers, though there are still some trade-offs. Large layer heights, upwards of 0.2mm, make 3D-printed gaskets non-functional for sealing. 

3D-printed part showing poor edge quality

3D printed part shows one of the downsides of the technology – perforation marks where supports were torn away and the undercut on the edge – demonstrating the limitations of the process.

Further, even though it is called rapid prototyping, it can still take hours to print small parts, thereby limiting production capacity. Additionally, many companies claiming to 3D print silicone are only 3D printing molds, then pouring silicone into the mold.

As this technology advances, Stockwell Elastomerics will monitor its capabilities and adjust service offerings accordingly.

Contact Stockwell Elastomerics for Prototype Silicone Gaskets & Pads and Rapid Response Gasket Prototyping

Contact Us for further assistance with rapid prototyping for silicone gaskets and pads.