3D printed casting patterns for metal parts production

Investment casting is one of the oldest-known metal forming techniques, and
continues to be an effective manufacturing methodology even today. Recommended
for a diverse range of metals, the investment casting process begins with a
pattern, around which a ceramic shell is formed through a dipping and firing
process. The firing process removes the initial pattern, leaving behind an
empty vessel for metal pouring. Also known as a sacrificial pattern, the
ceramic shell is broken away once the metal has cooled, leaving behind a precise
metal part. The final outcome is geometrically precise to the mould that shapes
the part.

However, traditional investment casting methods are not always time- or
cost-effective. To begin with, the investment casting pattern is achieved using
wax tooling, which can take several weeks or months and upwards of tens of
thousands of dollars to produce. When time is not a constraint, or a high
quantity of final parts justifies the expense of tooling, traditional methods
can be considered.

But when time-to-market is critical or when the requirement is low
volume, 3D printing technology offers an excellent solution. 3D printing is a
smart option for low volume investment casting, bridge tooling and risk
mitigation throughout design.

3D Systems offers both wax and resin materials for investment casting
applications that dramatically reduce metal part production costs with
overnight delivery speeds. Market-savvy industrial part manufacturers, jewellers
and foundries have already acquired stereolithography (SLA) or MultiJet (MJP) wax
printers to be able to reliably and precisely deliver high quality 3D printed
investment casting patterns faster, more affordably and completely in-house.

When compared to traditional investment casting patterns, 3D printing
saves customers anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 per part along with
considerable time savings through quicker turnaround. 3D printed investment casting offers additional benefits such as the ability
to make more complex and functionally efficient patterns not possible with conventional
tooling. The high surface quality of 3D Systems’ printing technologies also
helps reduce post-processing requirements for increased efficiency downstream.

learn more about our investment casting solutions, get in touch with one of our
On Demand Manufacturing experts today on + 61 3 9819 4422 or email us here to discuss your
project requirements.

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