For the past year we have been busy building, testing, documenting and refining the process of taking 3D printed parts and using “Lost PLA” burnout to cast for parts for more robust applications. The documentation is bordering 100+pages, with 20+ pages of brute force data. We will try to keep it simple, show off with a few shiny throwbacks, hopefully inspire ideas for the potential, and give some technical specs to boost the capabilities of those open source open hardware folks who love a good clean walkthrough. [click here for more information]
The sketches go through the simple breakdown of a furnace in basic parts and vacuum trap parts. Blast furnace information can be found here. Any casting plaster can be used for when investing flasks for casting.
Parts can have clean interior corners, where CNC machines would fail to accomplish because of the cutter size. Self intersecting geometry is also not a problem. Edge case castings have been hearty with 13 fins space 1.6mm apart extending 15mm up and continuous for 40mm. This means complex geometry for cooling fins has little cost to prototype.The hard part is conceptualizing how volumetric shrinkage occurs. Basically the part will shrink ~2-3% depending on the alloy, but holes will get bigger as metal contracts from the side walls of the plaster. This means that parts need to be scale up ~2% while holes need to shrink by 2%. This allows parts to be well toleranced if machined afterwards.
Extremely complex parts that cannot be machined can easily be cast in production volumes allowing standard 3D print/cast parts to; withstand high temperature applications, parts have higher strength to weight ratio, parts can be custom bearing/bushing systems(when bronze is used), and parts can be used to create custom heat sinks (when aluminum is used).
Rapid manufacture of injection molds allows for even the smallest of shops to become competitive with standard injection molding. 3D printing adds ease and flexibility for companies to change their designs/molds faster and keep up with the demand.
More in depth information can be found here… Rapid Manufacturing MK3
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