Many industries are keeping an eye on 3D printing these days for ways to evolve their processes. In my experience, the changing landscape has been particularly interesting for foundries, where direct 3D printing of investment casting patterns is now a reality. However, the opportunities do not stop there. Sand casting foundries are also benefiting by becoming faster, more cost-efficient and more agile with the use of 3D printing.
These changes are a big deal, as they offer a much-needed alternative to the status quo. Traditional approaches to creating sand casting patterns and core equipment rely on subtractive processes such as CNC milling and fixturing, which are expensive in both time and resources. Although these processes may not be completely replaced by 3D printing, there are certain scenarios where 3D printing offers an undeniable advantage. These cases include:
- Cutting the cost and time for production patterns and core boxes by as much as half
- Accommodating new shrinkage factors when alloys change on a design
- Accelerating delivery by eliminating purchase and delivery of shape materials
- Driving rapid development and iteration
- Delivering complex core castings quickly at lower cost and risk
I take a deep dive into this topic in the application brief: Reduce Sand Casting Lead Times and Production Costs Using Hybrid 3D Printing. I not only discuss the cases where 3D printing delivers optimal value, but provide insights on the various technologies available, what factors to consider and real-world examples from sand casting foundries. Take a minute to download the brief today and discover the possibilities of 3D printing for sand casting.