What are Metal Castings?

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Molds are made from SLA patterns and molten metal is poured in. Moderate to high pricing.
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Prototype metal casting allow designers to receive several metal prototypes in a short amount of time.

How It Works
Prototype Metal Castings start with a master pattern, usually made using SLA. The pattern is then placed in a box where silicone RTV is poured in to create a negative mold. Silicone provides a flexible, detailed surface that does not stick to most casting materials. A positive silicone mold is then made, to act as a flexible copy of the original part. Then a disposable plaster negative mold can be made. When the plaster mold is ready, molten aluminum or zinc can be poured in. After the metal hardens, the plaster mold can be destroyed and the metal removed and cleaned.

It is not a very efficient process, but it is effective at getting prototypes made in a timely manner, in as little as 5 days.

Typical Uses
  • Rapid Prototypes
  • Low-Volume Production Parts
Costs
Example quotes for a 2-inch sphere:
Process Qty 1 Qty 10
SLA $376 each $109 each
SLS $501 each $121 each
FDM $182 each $154 each
PolyJet $479 each $139 each
Machined Plastic $458 each $139 each
Urethane Castings N/A $120 each
So, you can see how volume discounts can be a big factor, especially for processes that are slow in the vertical direction.

For More Information
Wikipedia article

See the Next Article: Stereolithography

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