Molding and Casting with a 3D Printer
A while back Airwolf 3D’s Tyler Caros demonstrated how to Cold Cast metal objects using a 3D printed object as the model. The instructional blog and Video provided an excellent starting point for people who are interested in reproducing high-quality objects that require little to no finishing work. The object shown here is an Airwolf 3D Business Card Holder (Available for free on Watertight.com) that Tyler cold casted with metal powder and resin. It turned out amazing.
Now we introduce to you some new techniques in the following videos produced by BJB Enterprises . BJB Enterprises specializes in mold and casting materials for professional-grade small batch production. As mentioned in our cold casting tutorial there are two parts to this manufacturing method: molding, and casting;and like Tyler, BJB Enterprises shows users how to mold and cast the professional way.
Why Should I Mold and Cast if I Already Own a 3D Printer?
If you are new to the world of 3D printing you may be wondering why you would need to mold and cast objects if your 3D printer is already capable of manufacturing things from scratch. This question begs a long and convoluted answer, but the short answer is that while 3D printers are capable of printing many things they are not capable of printing in every type of material (yet). Plus, most 3D printed objects also require some degree of finishing work. This is not too much of a bother if the user is only printing one thing; but if he/she wants to print 200 of the exact same thing the finishing work can become tedious.
In the video shown here, BJB’s Troy Peterson demonstrates how to reproduce a polyurethane fireman’s helmet using silicone molding and casting techniques. The resulting molds are so precise that details as fine as fingerprints may be reproduced if the technician is not careful! The master object used to manufacture the fireman’s helmets was produced using an Airwolf 3D printer which was then given a post process finish to ensure a smooth, flawless, model. The post process treatment was somewhat labor intensive, but the nice thing about molding and casting is that it only has to be done once. Once the silicone molds are produced, the user can perfectly reproduce dozens of identical objects without having to go through the hassle of post-process finishing. As a bonus many of the casting materials can be given a custom color, so the user is not limited to whatever choices that filament producers bring to market. Here is a video of the casting process demonstrated by BJB Enterprises:
Taking Production to the Next Level.
Another benefit to the casting and molding materials offered by BJB is that they make it possible to produce clear objects like the automotive lens shown here. This is an invaluable feature for many users because true clarity is nearly impossible to achieve with any 3D printer available. The printing process of modern 3D printers tends to produce objects that scatter light and give objects an opaque appearance, even if the filament itself is marketed as “clear. ” The value of using 3D printing technology in conjunction with molding and casting techniques quickly becomes apparent in situations where a user wants to say, reproduce a rare or discontinued auto part like the lense cover shown above. The uses for this type of manufacturing process are endless and really underscore the value of 3D printing technology for rapid prototyping. By combining 3D printing with traditional molding and casting techniques entrepreneurs can quickly transition between prototyping and production phases which offers a high degree of adaptability to changes in consumer tastes and expectations. If you would like to learn more about the molding and casting materials that BJB Enterprises offers for sale please view their website here: BJB Enterprises.
ABOUT AIRWOLF 3D
Airwolf 3D is committed to designing and manufacturing high-performance consumables, accessories and 3D printers that are fast, affordable, durable and easy to use. All Airwolf 3D printers are made in America, manufactured in the company’s 12,000 sq. ft. facility in Costa Mesa, Calif. Airwolf 3D printers can be found in Fortune 500 companies, engineering firms, government agencies and schools worldwide. For more information visit www.airwolf3d.com, telephone (949) 478-2933, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the company’s showroom at 130 McCormick, Suite 105, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 for a free demonstration.