In casting, a mold produces the form of the cast part, while a pattern is used to make the form of this mold. Pattern making is therefore the heart of casting.
Danko Arlington is a company that recently turned to 3D printing—specifically, fused deposition modeling—as a potentially more efficient way to make castings. In a report on the company’s website, company president John Danko discusses the pros and cons of making patterns through additive manufacturing. According to Mr. Danko, those pros and cos include:
- Design freedom
- Incorporation of intricate features
- Reduced labor
- Customers’ high interest in 3D printing
- Equipment cost
- Material cost
- Risk of pattern distortion during printing
- Difficulty repairing or modifying a pattern made through 3D printing
- Potential distortion of 3D printed patterns by hot foundry sand
Read more in Danko Arlington’s report.
Yet another option, instead of 3D printing a pattern, is to 3D print the mold itself directly in sand.