Wax Mold

Hello again! In this post I wanted to demonstrate how to use hardened wax to make a mold. Anything from chocolate to silicon can be poured into a mold made of hardened wax, and the wax can be cut very quickly and aggressively.

Products used in this project:


Design

Untitled drawing (1)

A simple model I will be using to demonstrate

Start off by loading the design that you would like to make a mold from. Select File -> New Project from Design and select the correct file. I just made a simple shape to demonstrate the steps for creating the mold. To make the shape that I did, I created a cube, and then selected Modify -> Chamfer. After that, I selected all of the edges and pushed them back by 1/3rd of the side lengths of my cube.

Follow theses steps to make the tray:

  1. After you have loaded or created the design that you would like to carve out, create a plane that separates the part of the piece that you want to carve out of the wax and the part that is unnecessary. Create the plane by selecting Construct, and then the correct option for your design.
  2. Select Modify -> Split Body and select the plane and the body of your design. This will split the unnecessary part of your design from the part that you want to cut out.Untitled drawing (2)
  3. Hide the part of the design that you will not need by clicking the light bulb next to it in the browser.
  4. Copy the body however many times you want to create a cavity for. Make sure that the tops of the models are all on the same plane, so that your cavities will all be the same depth.Untitled drawing (3)
  5. After I spaced out the cavities correctly, I created a box that started at the same plane as the tops of the cavities, and then covers the rest of the designs.Untitled drawing (4)
  6. I then select Modify -> Join, and changed the operation to cut. Select the designs as the Tool Bodies and the box as the Target Body. This will create the cavities of your mold.
  7.  Lastly, make sure the the cavities will not cut through your stock, and scale the design to your needs

Final model


CAM

  1. Begin by switching into the CAM work space.
  2. Select Setup -> New Setup.
  3. To begin, I like to set the origin to the front left corner of the material. Make sure that it is oriented in the same direction as your model.
  4. Move to the Stock tab and fill out the size of the stock. Put the design on the bottom of your stock to make sure that you can cut all of the way through the material with a contour cut.
  5. Go to the Setup tab and select the origin of the design as one of the corners of the stock box. I prefer to use the front left corner, since it is easy to zero out the origin with the machine.
  6. The first path that you will create is a 3D Adaptive Clearing. Select 3D -> Adaptive Clearing to start. This will both face and rough out the pockets of the mold. Fields to check:
    • In the Tool tab, check that the tool is the correct bit. I chose to use a 1/8″ endmill, since it will be able to cut through the material quickly. Also, you can increase the cutting speed because it is so easy to cut through the hardened wax.
    • In the Geometry tab, set the Machining Boundary to Selection and select the outline of the mold. Set the Tool Containment to Tool outside boundary.
    • In the Passes tab, I set the Maximum Roughing Stepdown to 0.75 mm. Also, check the box next to Stock to Leave and set both of the values that appear to 0.5 mm.

      Untitled drawing (5)

      Completed 3D Adaptive Clearing path

  7. The next path that I made was a 2D Contour. Select 2D -> Contour. Fields to check:
    • In the Tool tab, I selected the bit to be a 1/8 in endmill. You can again increase the speed of the tool path because the wax is very easy to cut through.
    • In the Geometry tab, I selected the base of the mold.
    • In the Passes tab, I checked the Multiple Depths box and changed the Maximum Roughing Stepdown to 0.75 mm.

      Untitled drawing (6)

      Completed Contouring path

  8. The last path that I made was a Ramp path to finish the design, but I think that it would be much smoother to use a Parallel path. The right click 3D Adaptive Clearing path and select Create Derived Operation -> 3D Milling -> Parallel. This will allow you to keep many of the values from the previous tool path. Fields to check:
    • In the Tools tab, I changed the tool to a 1mm ball nose endmill so that I could make the design as smooth as possible.
    • In the Geometry tab, select Avoid/Touch Surfaces and select the top face of your mold.
    • In the Passes tab, check the box for Add Perpendicular Passes and changed the Stepover to 0.25 mm. Both of these changes will lead to a much smoother finish.

      Untitled drawing (7)

      Final Parallel path


Final Product

Here is the finished product:

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I filled the mold with water and froze it. Anything that melts can be put into the mold though, such as chocolate or plastic.

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An ice cube from the mold. Because I had used a Ramp toolpath to complete this, the cut is very obvious. This is why I suggest using a Parallel toolpath with a very small stepover.

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