Rapid and low-cost prototyping of medical devices using 3D printed molds for liquid injection molding

Philip Chung, J. Alex Heller, Mozziyar Etemadi, Paige E. Ottoson, Jonathan A. Liu, Larry Rand, Shuvo Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Biologically inert elastomers such as silicone are favorable materials for medical device fabrication, but forming and curing these elastomers using traditional liquid injection molding processes can be an expensive process due to tooling and equipment costs. As a result, it has traditionally been impractical to use liquid injection molding for low-cost, rapid prototyping applications. We have devised a method for rapid and low-cost production of liquid elastomer injection molded devices that utilizes fused deposition modeling 3D printers for mold design and a modified desiccator as an injection system. Low costs and rapid turnaround time in this technique lower the barrier to iteratively designing and prototyping complex elastomer devices. Furthermore, CAD models developed in this process can be later adapted for metal mold tooling design, enabling an easy transition to a traditional injection molding process. We have used this technique to manufacture intravaginal probes involving complex geometries, as well as overmolding over metal parts, using tools commonly available within an academic research laboratory. However, this technique can be easily adapted to create liquid injection molded devices for many other applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51745
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number88
StatePublished - Jun 27 2014


  • 3D printing
  • Bioengineering
  • Fused deposition modeling
  • Issue 88
  • Liquid injection molding
  • Low cost
  • Low volume
  • Medical devices
  • Molds
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Rapid turnaround time
  • Reaction injection molding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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