Metal casting

Discussing what we do with our prints after we make them (clean up, integration, etc)

Metal casting

Postby killbox » 2015-Jan-Sun-15-Jan

Now i'm sure we all have some idea about using our models to cast metal things. i'm just wondering if anyone has tried it yet here? what did you use? and how did it turn out.

I am hoping to try some casting in the future when it isn't cold outside.
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Metal casting

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Re: Metal casting

Postby orangefurball » 2015-Jan-Sun-16-Jan

I was at a local mini maker faire and someone representing Proto Pasta (I think) was there. They had some castings of skulls.

I'm pretty sure the easiest way to do it would be making the object you're casting have little to no infill, then pack it in a sand clay mixture and just pour the metal into it (probably aluminum as it can be smelted easily at home)

The plastic will burn away and you will have your object.

That's really only good for one offs though, if you need multiples and don't want to make multiple prints, you can make a mold of two halves out of the sand clay mixture. Though this is more advanced so I would definitely go with encasing the plastic and just pouring the metal.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby thawkins » 2015-Jan-Sun-19-Jan

Here is a novel technique, they use a cold paste printer to print with a paste of plastic binders and metal powder. The resulting model is then fired in a kiln and the binders burn off and the metal forms a solid matrix.

http://www.minimetalmaker.com/technology
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Re: Metal casting

Postby Mooselake » 2015-Jan-Mon-09-Jan

Cool; if they manage to get it close to the claimed $500 I'd get one for Mrs. Moose and/or Carrie Merrie Puffin. We have access to a potters kiln.

I took a look at the indegogo site. I'm not as up on IGG as I am on Kickstarter, although CMP recently raised some money for her medical devices company there, so the reports by award might not match the total. They claimed they raised around $34K, but if you add up the rewards it's closer to $20K (still over their goal, though). Looks like they delivered less than 6 months late, so pretty good by KS standards. Interesting that they offered a kit of 3D printed (presumably in plastic, not gold) parts only, but not one of all the non-printed parts. The pictured metal prototype looks a lot like a mini milling machine.

The comments were polite and respectful, nothing at all like those for One Up. The backers must be happy!

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Re: Metal casting

Postby killbox » 2015-Jan-Mon-12-Jan

I'm having trouble finding casting sand. though I could use plaster, i want something that is reusable. Any ideas?

Though the paste printer looks cool. i wonder about strength and shrink. as well as buying into proprietary(evil word) paste. it would be good for making things out of precise metal as casting those is pricey as metal loss is high in a hobby forge
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Re: Metal casting

Postby orangefurball » 2015-Jan-Mon-13-Jan

killbox wrote:I'm having trouble finding casting sand. though I could use plaster, i want something that is reusable. Any ideas?

Though the paste printer looks cool. i wonder about strength and shrink. as well as buying into proprietary(evil word) paste. it would be good for making things out of precise metal as casting those is pricey as metal loss is high in a hobby forge

Greensand is what you're looking for and I'm pretty sure it can be made for next to nothing.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby killbox » 2015-Jan-Mon-17-Jan

Yes you can, using fine grit sand and some "fireclay" or Bentonite clay. but i'm not sure where to get this, i've heard pottery stores, but the two craft stores and one pottery place i've been to, have no idea what the stuff is

I know some kitty litter is made of bentonite clay, but it would need to be ground up to a find powder to be useful. and i'm not sure how i would do that
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Re: Metal casting

Postby orangefurball » 2015-Jan-Mon-18-Jan

killbox wrote:Yes you can, using fine grit sand and some "fireclay" or Bentonite clay. but i'm not sure where to get this, i've heard pottery stores, but the two craft stores and one pottery place i've been to, have no idea what the stuff is

I know some kitty litter is made of bentonite clay, but it would need to be ground up to a find powder to be useful. and i'm not sure how i would do that

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.vi ... 99&alt=web

Here is some, pretty good price too since its reusable.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby Jdublu » 2015-Jan-Tue-11-Jan

Greensand is reusable. I found mine by locating a local sand casting foundry then caging some of their used sand from the manager.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby JonS » 2015-Jan-Tue-12-Jan

When I visited Type-A machines, I spoke to a guy who's a jeweler in the same space as them who showed me his set up for casting.

He prints in PLA and then molds it in plaster. He then uses a ventilated kiln to burn off the PLA. Then he poured metal like pewter (he showed me a silver piece too) in to the empty mold cavity.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby thawkins » 2015-Jan-Tue-12-Jan

JonS wrote:When I visited Type-A machines, I spoke to a guy who's a jeweler in the same space as them who showed me his set up for casting.

He prints in PLA and then molds it in plaster. He then uses a ventilated kiln to burn off the PLA. Then he poured metal like pewter (he showed me a silver piece too) in to the empty mold cavity.


Its called "lost PLA" after "lost wax", the example below the guy is casting aluminium from 3d printed parts.

http://3dtopo.com/lostPLA/
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Re: Metal casting

Postby JonS » 2015-Jan-Tue-13-Jan

It looks like a lot of work to me! I think I'll wait for a sub-$2000 metal printer.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby killbox » 2015-Jan-Tue-18-Jan

Problem with a metal printer is it doesn't stop at the printer cost, think about the metals that you need to print with! and the hazard they pose. for most printers to work, you need metal dust, super fine, easily inhalable, and explosive in certain cases.

and then there is shipping cost! and power cost!

yes our printers can be like that, but this is a much bigger scale.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby JonS » 2015-Jan-Wed-01-Jan

I agree that metal printing is challenging and potentially hazardous. But so is casting.
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Re: Metal casting

Postby Mooselake » 2015-Jan-Wed-12-Jan

You could always build your own based on a wire welder, which would solve the potential explosive issue of powder. While they do require a fairly hefty mains power source, my wire welder runs off the US standard 120V. Still potentially hazardous, but so is anything that involves molten metal.

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Re: Metal casting

Postby JonS » 2015-Jan-Thu-00-Jan

I can't say that I'm impressed with the wire welder based printer print quality that people are showing.

Anyway, doesn't solving the potential for an explosion take all the fun out of it? ;)
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Re: Metal casting

Postby thenightgaunt » 2015-Feb-Fri-16-Feb

thawkins wrote:
JonS wrote:When I visited Type-A machines, I spoke to a guy who's a jeweler in the same space as them who showed me his set up for casting.

He prints in PLA and then molds it in plaster. He then uses a ventilated kiln to burn off the PLA. Then he poured metal like pewter (he showed me a silver piece too) in to the empty mold cavity.


Its called "lost PLA" after "lost wax", the example below the guy is casting aluminium from 3d printed parts.


Now that's really useful. We used to make jewelry using a similar technique. Its not that complicated. You take the wax form, attack a "funnel" piece to it and surround it with a block of mold material. Toss it in the oven (well, the jewelry oven) to melt away the wax and presto, an almost perfect mold. Just pour in your silver or gold and break apart the mold once it dries.

Silly me, I was trying to figure out how to get a 3D printer to print with jeweler's wax and never thought to just burn away the PLA. *forehead slap*
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Re: Metal casting

Postby BeefaloBart » 2015-Feb-Thu-15-Feb

What about the use of water soluble filament then casting the part in plaster or ceramic for the mold parts. Then just add water and let it flow away. Then again just making a good ceramic mold would be enough for a few uses on pouring in aluminum.

Where or where is our affordable 4 axis CNC that can cut parts under 10"
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Re: Metal casting

Postby frankv » 2015-Feb-Thu-20-Feb

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Re: Metal casting

Postby Chaloney » 2015-Aug-Thu-12-Aug

Machinable wax sells wax printing filament. (The site won't let me post a link--too new a user)

Wax 3D printer filament. Print in wax. Surface cleans up easier/better than pla and it is supposed to burn out of the mold cleaner than pla

Lost wax or lost pla are mostly used for investment casting (making a single use mold then burning out the wax or pla then pouring in the molten metal. Pouring molten metal straight into a model buried in sand is mostly done with polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) molds. I believe wax does not burn off fast enough and I would guess pla might have the same problem. I'll probably try this fall (after I finish moving and unpacking). Lost foam is a really easy process. Lost pla/wax with investment casting adds a few steps that would be nice to avoid
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Re: Metal casting

Postby Mooselake » 2015-Aug-Thu-18-Aug

Welcome to the forum, Chaloney? Are you posting from the Interlochen Arts Academy?

A long time ago, pre Mrs. Moose, I had a GF that had been an art student there. Even further back my parents took me to a couple concerts there, must have been the late 50s or early 60s. I'm from the real northern Michigan (da UP), not that fake one where the trolls live under da bridge.

Here's your link.

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Re: Metal casting

Postby bbrown64 » 2015-Aug-Sat-11-Aug

There is a technique that uses PLA to cast metal parts. I believe it is called lost PLA metal casting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWVVSZP3Au4
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Re: Metal casting

Postby mangaliron » 2017-Nov-Thu-03-Nov

The ever-growing variety of 3D printing filaments is amazing — we can now print in flexible, glowing, strong and dis solvable plastics. This allows them to cast alloys with higher melting points, like pewter. Some users are also experimenting with making two-part molds printed in plastics with higher melting points, like nylon.

A common technique in jewelry making and manufacturing is investment casting or lost-wax casting. A model or “pattern” is made in wax, then a plaster mold is made around the wax model.
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