Rapid Prototype for Sand Casting
The metal forming process of sand casting uses a sand mold. Molten metal is poured into the mold cavity. The sand shell is removed after the metal components have cooled and hardened. Secondary machining processes may be required after casting to improve final product accuracy.
During the design stage, rapid prototyping for sand casting can help design engineers quickly gather feedback on the viability of a potential part, by creating a physical representation based on the initial drawings and designs. Corrections and revisions can then be made before the in-depth production process begins. This article looks at the rapid prototype for the sand casting process.
What is Rapid Prototyping for Sand Casting?
Modern foundries use 3D printing technology to create mold patterns and produce rapid prototypes for sand casting. Using computer-aided design (CAD), this technology enables the fast fabrication of a fully-realized prototype that can be analyzed and tested for optimal characteristics and overall usability.
The amount of precision in the prototype is based on the stage of development. A low-fidelity prototype might be created initially to study perceived advantages and potential problem areas, whereas a high-fidelity prototype is created as the design moves closer to that of the finished casting. The use of 3D printing for rapid prototyping has a number of benefits:
- Reduced product development and lead time.
- Once finalized, the design used for the prototype can be directly printed and used for full production runs.
- Ideal for product development situations where design alterations are needed, or for those times when the project is under a tight development time schedule.
- Ideal for the development of complex structural parts, such as those in engine blocks and cylinder heads.
The most important benefit, though, of rapid prototyping for sand casting, is that it allows for the thorough testing of a product early in the design process. Multiple variations of prototypes can be created for comparison purposes, design flaws can be recognized and corrected, and more refined casting options can be produced in a shorter period of time.
What is the Rapid Prototyping Process?
In general, there are five steps to the rapid prototype for the sand casting process:
- CAD Modeling: Software is used to create a three-dimensional image of the proposed prototype.
- Conversion: The CAD model is converted into a format, usually stereolithography (STL), which allows for virtual slicing, in order to study intricate layers of the proposed design.
- Slicing: The actual slicing of the digital file is performed, to provide cross-sectional contours of the model.
- Model Fabrication: An initial sand mold is “printed” by building the created layers on top of each other.
- Post-Processing: The layering process results in a physical sand mold, which is then cleaned and finished for advancing to the next step of the sand casting process.
Learn More About Rapid Prototypes for Sand Casting
Impro is a leading global manufacturer of complex and high value-added sand castings. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you in selecting from a wide range of casting processes to find the one best suited to your specifications and budget criteria. If you are interested in finding more information about our rapid prototype for sand casting process and capabilities, please contact our team of experts today.