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.
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.
Freelance writer, Engineer
CAD MicroSolutions, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, has been providing engineers, designers and manufacturers with 3D technology and training for the entire product development lifecycle for over 30 years.
CAD MicroSolutions is uniquely positioned to help their clients enable innovation across Canada, selling and supporting 3D printing solutions as well as design automation software, training and consultation to help clients in mechatronics innovate, design and succeed. For more information about CAD MicroSolutions, please visit www.cadmicro.com or call 1-888-401-5885.
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