Archive for Casting

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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Glass Casting in Printed Molds: Part I

Posted in 3DP Materials, glass casting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2010 by chwyman

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My name is Charlie Wyman and I am currently a graduate student at the University of Washington in Mechanical Engineering.  Prior to beginning my studies at the University of Washington, I received my B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Whitman College, and upon graduating I spent several months designing and fabricating metal sculptures from copper and steel.  This quarter I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the Solheim RP Lab under the guidance of Prof. Mark Ganter.

Recently, under the direction of Prof. Ganter and Prof. Laura West, I have been experimenting with “kiln casting glass” directly into printed molds.  The primary material that has been used thus far is hydroperm, a material that is ready to use out of the bag.  For the first few tests, I used a standard glass firing schedule and System 96 glass, which is more viscous that typical casting glass. I also used an open-faced mold of a mask I designed as the test mold.

Preliminary results have shown promise, but we still have some details to work out.  We initially had some problems with mold burn-in and devitrification, but I believe this was due to discrepancies in the firing schedule.   These issues have been significantly reduced.

Future tests will include varying the firing schedule and temperatures to minimize the frosty surface, spots, and devitrification, and to determine at what point mold burn-in occurs. I will also experiment with different types of glass and mixing other materials with the hydroperm.

Port Townsend Foundry test pour of hydroperm 3D printed mold

Posted in metal casting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by skaad
co-authored by Laura West and Dave Feathers

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Recently, at the Solheim Lab, we sent a 3D printed mold printed in hydroperm off to Dave Feathers at Port Townsend Foundry.  The mold was placed in a greensand jacket and then poured in aluminum bronze.  The mold was not pre-heated, nor was it baked prior to pouring to push off all the moisture.  In spite of this, the results were quite impressive.
Port Townsend Foundry has been involved in 3D printing technology since they originally worked with the founder of Prometals.  As of late, Dave Feathers (design engineer and artist for the foundry) has been influential in the development of a new material from Viridis 3D (MIT technology), and has recently focused attention on Solhiem Labs and the groundbreaking work of professors Laura West and Mark Ganter.  Getting this new technology to mash with the manufacturing environment has been the relentless pursuit of Dave Feathers and Pete Langley (owner Port Townsend Foundry).  Pete comes from a lineage of brains,  starting with the guy who invented the theory of flight, another one who founded General Dynamics, and another who invented the spin casting fishing reel!  Pete Langley’s high quality castings have been sailing all over the world for the past 28 years.  The prototype in the photos is of a 5/8ths shackle which you will be seeing in the future aboard America’s Tall Ship, the USCG Barque Eagle.  Port Townsend Foundry already has outfitted her with blocks, jib hanks and spectacle irons.

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.

Plaster Powder VOHP (Version “Out of the bag” HydroPerm)

Posted in 3DP Materials, rp/am sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by 3dpglass

by  Laura West and Mark Ganter

As a result of the collaboration between artist (and  a bit engineer) Laura West and engineer (and more than part – artist) Mark Ganter, we are making great strides in the Fresno City College Sculpture Lab and the UW Solheim RP Lab  for the past few weeks.  This went into high gear when Laura West came up to Seattle last week for Ars Mathematica and to finalize some research on the cemetenous material (see posts).  As you may have noticed, Mark made and amazing discovery and found a printing fluid (rice wine) that works straight out of the bottle.  A few days later, Laura began testing a type of gypsum cement straight out of the bag and Mark joined the party/followed suit/something like that literally within hours.

We have been both testing a number of different high strength specialty plasters and have found several to be amazingly successful. We are presenting last week’s winner.

The recipe is “There is no recipe“.   You simple purchase HydroPerm, cut open bag, and pour into machine.

It has good damp strength, great green strength, and air drying seems the best (although we have been known to bake a few).   The best part of VOHP parts is you can spray them with water OR gently wash them in water (and the parts get stronger)!  You can even use water based paints, stains, and varnishes.   The VOHP parts open up a new frontier in post processing options.

“Around midnight before Laura West was to leave her very productive visit at Solheim RP, she ran a test of a USG material called Hydroperm that is often used in metal casting.  It printed beautifully.  Good strength and very little binder migration (we call this “bloom”).  She then decided to run a small test mold and a few small sculptures.  Within two hours of starting the print, Laura took the test mold over to the metal casting lab and discovered that it does indeed hold up very well to cast metal.  This material is potentially even better than the cementenous formula.”

We have had successful results with a variety out-of-the-bag printing materials since we began our collaboration.   Some of them have potential for metalcasting (We would recommend waiting until we get past preliminary testing to try this – we promise to get you results soon).   As we test these and other new materials we will keep you posted on this site and open3dp.

"MesoBio" printed in Hydroperm by Duane Storti

 

 


Mark has been printing up a series of sculptures in Hydroperm for an exhibition in the ArtSpace Gallery at Fresno City College titled “Rapid Premonitions”  They are printing amazingly well. . .

"Moai Bowling" printed in Hydroperm by Mark Ganter

 

We think this is the best powder that we have found to date.   It works for part printing and it works for mold printing!!

Casting Metal into Printed Molds

Posted in 3DP Materials, metal casting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by skaad

Molds ready to pour

For three weeks in May/June, I was the first visiting artist at Solheim Rapid Prototyping Lab (actually I was the first visiting artist in the history of the engineering college). I am a sculptor who is a tenured faculty member at Fresno City College in California.

I traveled to the University of Washington to study the development of the powders and their application in metal casting – I am known for my metal casting skills – esp. with iron casting. Prior to coming here, I was investing Z-corps standard powders in a ceramic shell lost “powder” process for pouring bronze, aluminum and iron.

While at Solheim Lab, I took a different strategy – I adapted one of UW’s base recipes to print cementenous material molds.

Instead of printing a pattern to make a mold around, I printed the mold to pour metal directly. When the saturation level was adjusted correctly, the printed molds turned out beautiful, crisp and clean. The molds were lightly sprayed with rubbing alcohol then cured for 24 hours to allow moisture to evaporate (both by air and kiln) and then some were painted with a mold wash (zircon flour, graphite and alcohol). Both open face and two part closed molds were tested with bronze and aluminum, with great success. The surface of the cement printed molds held up well to the molten metal with very little burn-in (similar to that of a resin bonded sand mold). The resulting castings had a good detail level.

The cementenous mix also produced very good results for printing of sculpture and other designs. The surface is very hard without the use of an infiltrate. When the surface is sprayed with rubbing alcohol, the strength of the patterns is amazing – I used the test bars as a nail file. This is a great example of how the arts and sciences can come together to produce some very exciting results!

I promise to post more information as we refine this process

Just after pouring