A sketch (in Dutch) and some test pieces illustrating how to make a hard, single-piece mould of a hard prototype.
In the case of this tiny tire, just making a hard mould directly would simply fuse the prototype & mould together: you can’t get the prototype out any more. So what you need is a flexible version of your prototype. But rubber can’t be sculpted like that, so what you need to do is make a flexible mould of the hard prototype, use that to make a flexible replica, and then make the hard mould of that replica. -.-'
This, however, takes a lot of silicone, so I tried something I call"puzzle casting" and “puzzle moulding” to save materials.
For puzzle casting, you follow all steps of regular hard-moulding, but only replicate a small piece, and then paste the eventual product together. However, in the case of rotation casting, it’s near impossible to get the exact same thickness on each piece of tire, so when pasted together, the overlap/ attachment points are very visible. It looks ugly and makes for a bumpy ride, so the tire NEEDS to be cast in one piece.
Enter puzzle MOULDING instead of puzzle casting. Step 1-2-3 are done according to hard-moulded puzzle casting, but at step 3 make several versions of the hard mould (instead of several version of the cast at step 4), and then join those together to make a single-piece hard mould. As they can be sanded and added onto, they can be made into a perfect fit, a continuous loop without any weird bumps or dents.
Bottom pic: Puzzle casting, step 1 to 4. Prototype (already a replica- I pressed clay into the silicone mould I already had of the real front tire prototype, as I didn’t want to cut that one up), silicone mould, silicone replica (with hard core), hard mould, latex replica.
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