One of the primary goals of additive manufacturing to have a cost-effective supply chain that is as adaptable to creating a component as a copier machine is for documents. Despite growing applications particularly in high end industries such as medical and aerospace applications, additive is limited in mass production applications by current process limitations. The additive manufacturing technology roadmap has set out to address these by focusing on goals to improve the design, process, materials, value chain, and AM genome. For metal additive manufacturing, there are many limitations in the current processes whether they use metal powder as the feedstock or if they use alternate materials (e.g. resin bonded sand or wax) to create a casting mold.
The current work seeks to address the major goals of the additive manufacturing technology roadmap through a paradigm shift. Rather than 3D printing metal to build up a component or 3D printing material to create a cavity for casting, this work focuses on 3D printing the desired shape but in plastic. This plastic form is then vaporized to leave an exact replica similar to the lost foam casting process, a process that is known to be capable of maintaining tolerances of 0.002”/inch and achieving highly complex shapes as well.
Successful results will be reviewed in a variety of metals including gray iron, ductile iron, and steel. Known defects, process risks, and process range limitations will be reviewed.
- Explain what additive manufacturing evaporative casting is and how it is different from other additive methods.
- Articulate to others how additive manufacturing can be used to rapidly obtain metal parts without 3D printing of the metal itself while not sacrificing complexity or tolerances.
- Determine if Additive Manufacturing Evaporative Casting’s current process range meets their needs.