Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3D printing and casting

Here is a interesting idea for you.

Lets say you have a 3D printer, and have a burning desire for a milling machine, or some other tool. Plastic is not strong enough and steel is overkill, so what do you do?

Try this:

3D print the part, like say a bracket.  

You then acquire silicone rubber caulk thinned down a little with paint thinner.  Don't use too much.  
You then use that to make a mold around the 3d printed part.  Wait a day for it to cure and remove the printed part from the mold.  Don't tear the mold.

You then melt tin-antimony solder or lead solder in a crucible.  Pyrex lab glass works well also.  

Pour that into the silicone mold.  After cooling you have a die cast part.  You can also use this method to replicate items like pulleys, car parts, and even make another 3d printer.

1 comment:

Boon Vickerson is out there said...

That is a good method for pulling waxes from for investment castings. Though you have to account for shrinkage if investing aluminum alloys. Approx 8-15 percent. More if it is complex on specific sections. But you have to experiment a bit. No loss ass you can re-melt your rejects. Need gates and risers too. You can print masters and any needed cores for sand casting also, for cast iron and copper/bronze alloys. Lot of value in that. Many items are most suitable made as castings. Those additive printers are perfect for this as you can build complex masters which in wood or metal in the traditional materials is very labor intensive requiring a high level of handcraft learned over many years.
A furnace for aluminum and brass alloys is rather simple to construct, can be fired with electricity, oil, gas, or charcoal. You can make charcoal easily too. A 55 gallon drum is a great kiln for making chemicly pure charcoal, which you need for foundry, and forge work too. Charcoal is a good product for water filters, moonshine filtering, cooking, and it is a very good fuel for iron and steel founding, forge work too, as it adds carbon and carbides to steels, especially tools and knives, weapons, anything you want to harden or improve the strength of.
So there are holistic crossover benefits.

If you pull waxes off your mold, you can recycle the wax when you burn out your investment mold. There are foams which you can cast in your molds, which are used in sand casting, they are composed of a material which you leave in the sand and they burn out as you lour your iron.

Additive machining is such a fantastic in innovation in the above processes, I think you are only limited by your imagination and material resources.