Ceramic cores allow Investment Casting companies to make complex metal parts. 3D printed ceramic cores is a breakthrough technology for the industry, bringing competitive advantages to those using it.
Investment Casting is the process of making metal parts. Ceramic slurry coats plastic or wax patterns to make an outer shell. Next, the pattern is melted away and the mould remains ready for molten metal to be poured and left to cool. Finally, the ceramic outer shell is shattered and the beautiful metal casting is revealed.
However, very complex metal shapes require ceramic core technology. To do this, it is typical to use a process called ceramic injection moulding. Injection moulding is a process which is expensive and requires long lead-times. Now though, it is possible to 3D print a ceramic core. This process delivers truly complex geometries, and it also brings speed to the process.
New opportunity for casting with reactive metals
The industry standard material for core manufacturing is silica based. Primarily, Silica based materials are used for ferrous castings. For reactive metals, like titanium an alternative is necessary.
So, titanium represents many challenges for a casting manufacturer. And one that only a select few companies globally are able to provide a solution for. Do you have a project requiring complex ceramic cores for titanium casting? We’d love to discuss our experience in this area and support you in your project.
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3D printed metal parts
Interesting, it is now possible to create metal parts directly on a 3D printer. This enables customers to obtain 3D printed metal parts within hours or days. Not months!! First option is creating 3D printed patterns or cores as discussed in this article. Alternately, the other option uses a 3D printer to directly manufacture metal parts. Either way, it means customers can get their parts and sell them much quicker.
Learn more about creating parts without tooling. Visit; 3D printing ceramic and metals.
This case study shows how a customer has delivered parts to their customers and has won new business doing so.
3D printed Wax Patterns
It is also an option to 3D print wax patterns and then introduced them into the standard workflow. This is very attractive to a casting factory so there are no difficulties in the firing phase. Patterns with contamination (Ash content) will cause issues. Furthermore, being able to create one-off-patterns so casting of quantity 1-5 become possible. This is great for testing new designs!
The image above shows a slight alternative process of inserting a 3D printed core into the wax pattern ready for coating in the ceramic slurry.