Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Integrating Rapid Prototyping & Computer Simulation into Investment Casting
Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL's) Integrating Rapid Prototyping Laboratory uses commercial stereolithography and selective laser sintering to quickly respond to the needs of its customers. Recent advances in stereolithography and selective laser sintering have had a significant impact on the overall quality of parts produced using these rapid prototyping processes.
The implementation of the QuickCastTM epoxy resin and software has made it possible to accurately build semi-hollow honeycomb patterns for investment casting. With this resin base style pattern, the problem of thermal expansion during burn-out is minimized, and the patterns can collapse inward rather than expanding outward and fracturing the ceramic shell.
In the Rapid Prototyping Laboratory, stereolithography and selective laser sintering systems are supported by expertise in ProEngineer from which thin slices (cross sections) of the CAD solid model are sent to the systems and solidified layer by layer. This creates an inexpensive, detailed, and accurate conceptual model that is a useful tool for visualization purposes, and it can be handled. The labs use these models as part of bid packages, verification, and for checking form, fit, and function.
The development and implementation of the Rapid Prototyping and Computer Simulation for Investment Casting comprise Sandia's complete in-house, design-to-cast capabilities which have reduced time for pattern production when coupled with solid model designs. Small lot production parts are easily attainable without fabricating costly hard tooling.
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