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Metal Casting - Lost PLA method

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Printed Solid, May 28, 2013.

  1. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    I was contacted last night by a man who owns a local foundry. He is interested in the lost PLA method. http://3dtopo.com/lostPLA/

    I'll be making him some sample parts this week. I'm pretty excited to give it a try!

    Hopefully things will go well and I'll get a blog post up with more info.
     
  2. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    That is very interesting I was impressed that the PLA was literally gone I would have expected some other residue but I guess 1200 degrees does the trick. It was interesting to see the printed lines of the PLA on the metal casting extreme detail.
     
  3. JDM_

    JDM_ New Member

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    I'm very interested to see the results. Let us know how it turns out.
     
  4. keraynopoylos

    keraynopoylos New Member

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    Pretty much the casting method dental technicians use to cast denture metal framework and crown/inlay/bridge metal skeletons.

    However doesn't the melt alloy need to be injected under pressure..?
     
  5. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    Yes. It is investment casting. The same process used to make a lot of things. The difference is the use of 3D printing to make the mold positive.

    Investment casting is just a pour of molten metal. No pressure involved. Same as sand casting from the perspective of the metal. I'm pretty sure that most dental molding use something like this.

    Die casting and thixotropic molding both inject molten or semi molten metal under pressure.
     
  6. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    The meeting Saturday went really well. Both myself and the guy with the foundry are both on board for developing a service to provide makers with a method to convert their 3D printed parts (or 3D designs that we will print for you) into cast metal parts. We should be able to do this for quite a bit less than having the part 3D printed directly in metal.

    I have a picture of the first part, but I have to preface it with some details.

    Our plan going into our meeting was that I was going to give him some scrap pieces to play around with as well as high quality print of a part for a steam engine kit he is working on. One of the scrap pieces was a little Make Robot (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:40212) that I had scaled down and printed as 1 of my first PLA parts. I didn't even adjust any of the slicer settings on this guy. I had printed it in ABS the night before and just reran the same GCODE with PLA. So, the print quality is kind of poor. Anyways, he thought it would make a good test part so he went ahead and made a casting from it! He used a really large opening so that he could easily see inside the investment when he burned out the PLA prior to pouring the metal.

    So, without further ado, here is a pic of the part cast in yellow brass:
    2013-06-02 15.41.49.jpg

    With the exception of the eyeball and the shoulder, all of the sloppiness in the metal part is real and was part of the original printed part. As I mentioned, it was a quick experiment. He believes the two metal blobs are air bubbles in the mold because he didn't pull bubbles out of the investment slurry prior to pouring.

    For your amusement, here are the pictures he sent me when he first made it:

    "OH NO! PLEASE DON'T DROP ME IN THE FIERY FURNACE!"

    MAKERBOTROBOT 001.JPG

    I survived. I AM IRON MAN!
    MAKERBOTROBOT 003.JPG
     
  7. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    I t seems the last two images links are broken maybe it is just me
     
  8. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    What are the materials you plan to work with
    and what precision do you think you can get out of it
     
  9. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    OK. Try it now. I had copied and pasted it in before which must not work right. I got a kick out of it when he sent me the pics.

    I can't seem to find the full list of materials we had discussed, but a pretty wide range of metals. Lower temp materials like aluminum and bronze up to higher temp materials liked brass. We're hoping to do cast iron as well, but we'll see. Any metals that melt below about 1300C will probably be fair game as a special request.

    By precision, do you mean accuracy? You get some shrinkage from the casting process that will need to be accounted for in the model, but other than that, it should be an exact replica of whatever model is actually printed.
     
  10. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    they work now thanks for the info it opens lots of potential doors
     
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  11. bringjustn

    bringjustn Member

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    It is encouraging to see someone show it done/being done, compared to the normal you could do it.

    The detail is really good, guessing with some prep work on print and minor clean up you can make some really nice pieces. I’m now kicking myself for missing out a few weeks ago on a set of electric lead casting tools that I saw at a garage sale, would have been cool if I would have remembered this as a practical use of it. Looks like I need to talk to my buddy that built a small foundry in his backyard last summer while his wife was away for a month on work. Always a good answer to why does the backyard look like it hasn’t been mowed in almost a month, but there is a new battle axe hanging above the fireplace.

    I’m curious to see some more pictures of what you can do with a little more prep work, and some different types of metal. Thanks for posting; it is innovations/ideas like these that I feel will keep pushing 3d printing to be accepted as being more practical than a toy for nerds.
     
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  12. JDM_

    JDM_ New Member

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    Very cool. What kind of pricing are you looking to charge? Do we get "RoBo 3D backer" pricing??? Lol.
     
  13. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    :) Pricing is TBD.
    I'm sure I'm completely jumping the gun by posting anything here. At the very least we'll be cost competitive to 3D printed metals or 3D printed lost wax castings. Probably significantly cheaper.
     
  14. DavidF

    DavidF New Member

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    LOL cute little robot you have there. ;)
     
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  15. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    DavidF is the 'local foundry guy' I mentioned in the initial post. Welcome to the group DavidF!
     
  16. tesseract

    tesseract Moderator
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    Hey David Welcome
     
  17. DavidF

    DavidF New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome, guess I should have posted an introduction, but it fun to just kinda pop in...:)
     
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  18. bringjustn

    bringjustn Member

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    Welcome to the forum David, and since you can make plastic into metal we wont tell if you make a intro thread after posting here :)
     
  19. DavidF

    DavidF New Member

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    Been at it again!!
     
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  20. JDM_

    JDM_ New Member

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    Very cool.
     

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