Archive for additive manufacturing

Lecture at National Conference for Cast Iron Art

Posted in 3DP Materials, metal casting, rp/am sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by skaad

Recently I attended the National Conference on Cast Iron Art held at the historical Sloss iron foundry in Birmingham, Alabama.  I was lucky enough to present a lecture on my recent research into the application of Additive Manufacturing technologies to the process of Metal Casting.   What follows are the first 22 slides.  The next post will contain the final images.

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Ceramic Shell Metalcasting and 3D printing

Posted in metal casting, rp/am sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by skaad

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One of the very first things I have tried regarding metal casting and the 3D printers is to invest the prints into ceramic shell for metal casting.  I am a metal caster by nature and so much of my journey with these materials has been in discovering uses for rapid prototyping technology as they apply to metal casting.  One of the earliest infiltrates for the material was wax.  Without an infiltrate, the materials tend to be very unstable and fragile (note that this changed with the work Mark Ganter and I have done with the cement based formula and hydroperm).  The standard powders also dissolve fairly easily in water, as do most plaster based materials.

This lead to first a proof of concept experiment where I invested one of my wax infused prints into ceramic shell (a very high temperature mold material that has almost no thermal shock).  I then burned it out and as expected the wax melted but the plaster remained.  The next step was to soak the mold in water overnight.  Between rinsing the mold in running water and a little assistance from a small wire, I was able to get all the plaster pattern out of the mold.  I got a casting that had a very high level of detail, which is to be expected from ceramic shell.

Since this point, I have experimented with various infiltrates.  Wax seems to work the best as it leaves a bit of a gap after burnout.  I have also worked with a few other powders in this process.  University of Washington’s VP2 works extremely well as the sugars dissolve quiet easily.

The series of photographs are primarily from student projects in various states of finish.  They were assigned to create a key chain on the computer using Solidworks.  Then we used the 3D printer to build the patterns and gated them up for investment in ceramic shell.  We followed this up the “lost powder” method of cleaning out the molds and poured bronze and aluminum into them.  There is a shot of our burn-0ut kiln as well as a shot of pouring.  I have also included a shot of one of the sculptures that I tested this process with.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 7, 2010 by skaad

Additive manufacturing techniques such as 3d printing, fused deposition modeling etc. has an amazing range of applications.  This blog focuses specifically on the use of rapid prototyping technologies to create sculptural forms and their applications in the metal casting industry.  The authors of this post are a group of collaborating professors, artists and engineers whose goal is to promote and innovate 3d printing technologies.

About the authors:

Laura West

Professor Laura West has been casting iron since her undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.  This is where her first iron furnace was built.  Laura continued her studies at Idaho State University and then became part of the teaching staff at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture before moving to Fresno, California.  Although she has run and built furnaces of a wide variety of sizes, types and situations, she specializes in smaller furnaces and beginner crews.  Laura’s work has been exhibited internationally and focuses on the placement of cast figurative elements within installation and enviromental formats.

In the past several years, her work has expanded to include the use of digital technology and rapid prototyping.  Professor West is known for her innovations in the use of additive manufacturing technologies in metal casting.  This research began by investing 3d printed patterns in ceramic shell and has continued with her collaborations with Mark Ganter to research materials used to directly print molds.

Mark Ganter

Professor Ganter is involved in applied computational geometry, solid modeling and computer graphics. His main research activities focus on application of computational techniques to engineering problems.

Research involves the development of new data representation for solid modeling (termed implicit solid modeling or F-Reps), development of implicit solids for design, development of implicit solids for layered manufacturing, extension of techniques for skeleton generation for implicit solid modeling, refinement of previously developed surface-surface intersection algorithms.

Current work focuses on 3D volume (voxel) space representations, object segmentation (including biological), wavelets representations of volume data.  Development of new materials and processes for 3D printing and 3D printing systems (including ceramic printing materials).

Prior research work includes cam design, wire-frame to solid modeling data conversion, solid modeling development, swept solids, 3-D convex hull algorithms, dynamic collision detection, surface-surface intersection algorithms, the collection of rule sets and implementation of a molding parting line development system, and the use and extension of feature extraction techniques of solid modeling for the development of molding patterns, and fusion of multi-spectral vision images for improved machine vision and recognition.

Charlie Wyman

Charlie Wyman is currently a graduate student at the University of Washington in Mechanical Engineering.  Prior to beginning his studies at the University of Washington, Charlie received his B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Whitman College, and upon graduating he spent several months designing and fabricating metal sculptures from copper and steel.