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Manufacturing Transparent Parts by Using Plaster

“Can you manufacture transparent parts?” A designer raised an unusual requirement to Asano, who mainly focused on sheet metal products. Generally, transparent parts should be produced by adopting the injection moulding (such as plastic moulds) and the vacuum moulding (such as plastic bottles). We thought that we could manufacture transparent parts after discussing with our manufacturer partners, but we were surprised when we knew about the client’s budget. “Our budget is not quite enough, so can you manufacture the transparent parts at the price of 100,000 yen?” The measurement of the transparent parts was about 400 mm * 200 mm. If moulds were manufactured by adopting machine tool processing, the budget is not enough. It was said that the assembly experiment failed due to internal interference. The interference existed in the die sleeve. The die sleeve was 3D surfaced and it was useless to check the die sleeve by using a plastic plate and viewing the inner side. Due to the shape of the die sleeve, there were many requirements for the manufacturing of transparent parts.

  • Moulds could not be processed by machines.
  • Transparent materials were required.
  • The shape of the parts should have the same 3D surface with that of a die sleeve.

Asano soon came up with a good solution. That’s, manufacture plaster moulds based on the die sleeve, heat and melt the plastic plate, evacuate the air between the plaster mould and the plastic plate by using a dirt catcher, and connect the plaster mould with the plastic plate. This proposal was given by a manufacturer who was interested in wireless remote controllers. In this way, the price fulfilled the client’s conditions and the quality of the products met relevant requirements. In fact, we were worried whether we could fulfill the client’s demands, and perhaps the client was also dubious about us. However, the client’s smile told us that we finally succeeded. Later on, the supervisor of Asano paid a return visit to the client and asked why the client proposed to manufacture transparent parts not by using sheet metal but by using other methods. The client answered that he just wanted to ask Asano for help. We hope that there will be more and more clients like this.

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