You might remember that industrial designer [Eric Strebel] tried to make a collapsible silicone container with 3D printed molds a few weeks ago, and was finally successful after dozens of attempts. Someone commented that commercial containers are molded in the collapsed position instead of the expanded position, so naturally, [Eric] had to try it once he saw the photographic proof of these molds.
This time around, [Eric] made things easier on himself by adding some handles to the mold and using both wax and spray mold release before pouring in the degassed silicone. The first one was a failure — he had let it cure the whole time in the collapsed mold, and it just didn’t want to stay expanded. On the second attempt, [Eric] decided to pull the piece while it was curing, about 5 1/2 hours into the process.
After carefully de-molding the piece, he pressed it into the grooves of one of the older molds from the days of molding containers in the expanded state. Then he filled it with sand and let it cure the rest of the way. That worked out quite well, but even so, [Eric] made a third attempt that he pulled after 3.5 hours or so when the silicone was still sticky. He did the sand trick again, but this time, he ran a piece of string up the wall and over the edge so that the air that gets trapped under the sand can escape. The final result looks great, albeit a little bit floppy, but [Eric] fits the final product into a frame that makes them much sturdier. Check out the process in the video after the break.
Did you miss the first installment? It’s worth a look into the science of creating collapsible walls.