Using the latest in production additive manufacturing and 3D scanning techniques, patterns for the historic vases were produced quickly and cost effectively.
Fundidora Morelia (FM) is a family-owned steel foundry with more than 40 years of experience specializing in the casting of ferrous alloys. Proveedora de Servicios y Suministros Industriales (PSSI) is a new enterprise part of FM and founded in 2016. FM and PSSI utilize several 3D printers, including a Titan Robotics® Atlas® 3D printer, CNC routers, 3D laser scanning, CAD modeling and the latest testing techniques to create high-quality patterns.
The small town of Cochuco, located in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, is well known for its history and craftmanship, where local artisans most notably manufacture giant clay pots by hand.
“As a family from Michoacan and as an enterprise based in Morelia, we are very proud of our culture and traditions, and we wanted to make a tribute to our artisans and their renewed arts and crafts,” said Alonso Alvarez of PSSI.
FM and PSSI commissioned a joint effort to reproduce two of the iconic giant vases, bridging the industrial and artisinal sectors of the region.
PSSI conducted the reverse engineering process by 3D scanning the original pot and creating 3D-printable CAD models of the cope and drag patterns for casting. PSSI 3D printed the large patterns using pellet extrusion on the Atlas and hand finished the parts with body filler and sanding for a smooth finish.
FM cast the model in steel and stainless steel and gave a blued and a mirror polished finish to each one. The time to produce the patterns was cut in half with 3D printing compared to traditional methods of CNC machining the patterns. Total, it took 1.5 days to create the patterns with 3D printing due to lights-out manufacturing on the Atlas. Keeping costs competitive, 3D printing the patterns also required half of the personnel compared to traditional pattern making methods.