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HIGH-QUALITY, ACCURATE METAL 3D MODELLING

Investment casting is a reliable, repeatable method of creating high quality, precision metal tools. It uses a disposable or reusable mould to constrain the dimensions of the object in production. Although it is one of the oldest forming methods known to humankind, modern investment casting tools have brought it right up to date.

Metal Investment Casting

Metal investment casting highlights

Every object produced through investment casting is turned out of a mould. The first task is to produce a master die, which is used to create the mould itself. The die can be constructed using a variety of materials, including clay, rubber and plastic. It is then covered in several layers of wax until it is the same thickness as the object it will be used to create.

The die is dipped into slurry to give it a prime coat, after which it undergoes a process of stuccoing. This applies more durable layers of ceramic, which form the finished walls of the die, from which the finished object will be produced. After each ceramic layer has been added, it needs to be dried. Traditional fabricators often require 24 hours or more to complete this step, so it can easily take a week to create a single tool. However, the Cyclone system sold by Laser Lines incorporates a high-speed drying chamber, which dramatically accelerates the process and can completely finish a shell in less than four hours.

When the ceramic has dried, the model is placed in an oven to melt the wax, which is collected for re-use. The die is then placed in a container, packed out with sand, and filled with liquid metal. Once the metal cools and hardens, the ceramic shell can be removed to leave the finished part behind.

The Benefits

  • Finished products are durable, accurate and long lasting.
  • Improvements to the metal casting process mean parts can now be completed in less than a day.
  • Multiple parts can be poured at once by using hollow spurs to link several moulds.
  • Complex parts can be produced in a single piece, so don’t require welding or exhibit seams and joins.

TALK TO OUR 3D PRINTING EXPERTS TO DISCUSS YOUR REQUIREMENTS TODAY

Metal investment casting makes small scale, repeatable production of durable parts – without outsourcing to a forge – a reality for an increasing number of on-site workshops.

Paul Tickle, Product Specialist, Laser Lines

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