How Additive Manufacturing is being leveraged for Investment Casting

Additive Manufacturing for Investment Casting

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an industrial term for 3D printing, it is a computer-controlled technique that produces three-dimensional structures by layer-by-layer deposition of material. AM allows for the construction of structures with precise geometric forms using computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D scanners. In comparison to conventional production, which often involves machining or other methods to remove excess material, these are designed to add material in layers. The digital process is ideal for rapid prototyping because it allows for rapid product changes to be taken place easily during the production stage. For high-value items, the absence of material waste makes this process economical, in addition to the short lead times additive manufacturing offers.

Investment casting, also known as lost-wax casting, is one of the oldest metal-forming practices. Its ease of use and ability to produce metal parts ranging from jet engine components to Oscar trophies have made it a standard in the production industry (to know more about the Investment Casting process and applications, click here). However, in recent times additive manufacturing has become manufacturers’ favorite production process, giving foundries a modern and simplified way to produce intricate products economically. It is ideal for the production of metal prototypes, metal end products, and technical castings.

AM processes when combined with investment casting offer high strength internal structures, surface finish, and ideal resolution as compared with products manufactured by investment casting processes.

The investment casting AM process uses the injection of metal into a mold. The prototype is typically 3D printed using wax and it is a perfect replica of the final product. A mold made in plaster is poured over the prototype and the liquid metal is injected inside the mold to replace the wax prototype, which is finally melted away.

Cast parts from SLA patterns printed in Clear Resin on a Formlabs 3D printer.

Check out this whitepaper by our partners at Formlabs to learn how engineers can leverage the speed and flexibility of 3D printing using metal casting workflows, including detailed walkthroughs of sand casting and investment casting processes.

Visit our online store for your 3D printing solution now!

About CAD MicroSolutions

CAD MicroSolutions is a known and reputable Industry 4.0 solutions provider based in Ontario, Canada. The company was founded in 1983 to assist clients in developing, innovating, and succeeding. Our goal is to bring together businesses from across Canada on a collaborative forum to maximize the adoption of Industry 4.0 technology. To stay competitive in an exponentially rising market, manufacturers must be agile, creative, and make logical investments. With over 30 years of experience in the sector, CAD MicroSolutions is ideally positioned to assist businesses of all sizes and across all industries in making informed technology investments and maximizing the value of their current CAD data. CAD MicroSolutions provides design automation tools, 3D metrology and scanning technology, additive manufacturing solutions, professional services, as well as training and consulting.

CAD MicroSolutions aims to assist Canadian companies in integrating and managing cutting-edge technology to maximize productivity, increase performance, and simplify production processes. We provide Engineering Training for the full SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE suite of products, as well as training  solutions for Additive Manufacturing, 3D Scanning/Metroloy and Virtual, Augmented and Immersive Display Technology. 

Article written by John Hamlin. John is a freelance writer who has a background in engineering. With a keen interest in technology and writing, John has been working online providing insight and direction for many years. His latest work has been on a compilation of industrial manufacturing techniques.

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