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Investment casting shells in 1 day using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

: Klocke, F.; Wirtz, H.; Freyer, C.

British Investment Casting Trade Association -BICTA-:
24th BICTA Conference 1999 : 6-8 June 1999, Oxford, UK
Oxford, 1999
Paper 16
British Investment Casting Trade Association (Conference) <24, 1999, Oxford>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPT ()
Rapid Prototyping; ceramic; selective laser sintering; metal prototype; investment casting; SLS

Rapid prototyping has been used to create master models for investment casting for several years, accelerating the process of making a complicated lost wax model. However the time-saving potential is not fully exploited, since the investment casting shell is made the traditional way, most of the time comsuming about two weeks before either prototype can be cast.
The Fraunhofer Institute of Production Technology has been successful in using Selective Laser Sintering to build ceramic shells directly from zirconium silicate. Shells for complex metal parts may be built in less than a day, accelerating the process of creating metal prototypes dramatically. No thermoplastic binders are used and there is no need for additional sintering; the shells are readily usable once they have been laser sintered and cleaned of excess powder. Parts that are hard to produce the traditional way have been cast using this new technology, demonstrating the enormous potential in cutting down on product development time.