Admatec and Aristo-Cast jointly present new pattern-less investment casting process with additive manufacturing
March 29, 2019, The Netherlands
In 2017, Aristo-Cast started working with the Admaflex 130 ceramic 3d printer to develop a new process that would revolutionize the traditional investment casting process. The Admaflex 130 3D printer was developed in 2012 by Admatec.
“We’ve been working with Admaflex 130+ Ceramic 3d printer for approximately 18 months. During this time we have developed a process allowing us to revolutionize the investment casting process.” – Jack Ziemba – CEO at Aristo-Cast.
The current method of creating investment casting
The conventional, method of creating investment casting consists of either injecting or 3D printing a pattern that is invested in a ceramic coating to create a ceramic shell. The pattern is then burned out from the ceramic, leaving a cavity that will be filled with the alloy of choice to produce a close tolerance casting.
Challenges of Conventional Investment Casting (IC) process
The conventional IC process is very labor-intensive and time-consuming and takes anywhere from two to as many as ten days to create a shell that is ready for casting. The shell is created by dipping the pattern in a liquid slurry and subsequently drying each coat before adding the next of as many as 8 coats to complete the shell. The first coating being the most critical, due to the fact that it’s the determining factor of the fine detail and surface finish you can achieve on the final product. A pattern with complex cores or passages is the most challenging to dip due to the inability to verify the integrity of the coat and the difficulty in determining when the coat is sufficiently dry to allow the application of the next coat.
The new process developed with the Admaflex 130
With the Admaflex 130, it is possible to directly print the shell thus eliminating the need for a costly injection mold or a costly 3D printed pattern. This means that Aristo-Cast is able to remove five steps of the traditional process, including the creation of a pattern, the clustering of patterns, the formation of a stucco coat and the dewaxing of the shell mold.
Furthermore, printing the shell directly from a cad file eliminates the doubt of what the surface detail looks like and allows the inspection of intricate core passages before the alloy is poured. The issue related to coat drying is completely removed allowing much faster creation of the shell. In some cases, reducing the time by 75%.
Why this was not possible with previous additive manufacturing technologies?
“The Admatec 3d printer has taken the investment casting prototype manufacturing to the next level. Its simplicity and ease of operation are unmatched compared to traditional pattern 3d printing.” – Jack Ziemba
Initially, the Admatec team worked closely with Aristo-Cast in order to tailor the ceramic formula to match the required shell formulation. Resulting in Admatec developing a material for investment casting suitable for additive manufacturing and compatible with the process to successfully 3D print Shells. Secondly, the combination of the material with the DLP technology used by Admatec enabled Aristo-Cast to print intrinsic geometries with high accuracy and extremely thin wall thickness.
Jack Ziemba, explains that – “the reduction in material used, allowed a more consistent isotropic shrinkage of the final part and the ability to print a perfect hollow surface from the inside of the Shell allowing easier removal of the core.” – he adds – “with the Admatec technology, anybody that is able to melt metal could become an investment caster”
“Here at Admatec we strive to assist customers with custom made solutions through our expertise in material and machine development. If you’re looking for a partner to improve or develop new solutions with ceramic and metal additive manufacturing we’d like to hear from you!” – Jaco Saurwalt COO at Admatec.
Cost savings with the new process
The savings in costs vary widely, being determined by the complexity of the part produced, but can be easily 50% lower than a traditionally produced casting. Admatec investment casting solutions are now open to the market and available for the casting companies to take advantage of it. For more information please contact email@example.com.
“We’re only scratching the surface of the advantages that shell printing can bring.” – Jack Ziemba
Aristo-Cast will present the new investment casting approach developed with Admatec, at AMUG Conference in Chicago. Join us on Tuesday, April 2nd, from 1:30 to 2:30 PM, room: PDR 2 and meet our local sales director Mr. John Koch and CCO Sandeep Rana to discuss it in detail.
Ceramic 3D printed shell with the Admaflex 130
Admatec is a Dutch-based manufacturer of ceramic and metal 3d printers using its in-house ADMAFLEX technology and materials including ceramics such as Alumina, Zirconia and Fused Silica; and metals such as 316L, 17-4-PH, Inconel 625 and Copper.
Aristo-Cast is an award-winning investment casting company that is recognized as a leader in applying Additive Manufacturing technology to the investment casting process. They have been producing 3d printed wax patterns since 1998.