Forerunner 3D Printing was approached by Great Lakes Casting about the possibility of using our HP MJF 3D printing process to produce HP MJF foundry tooling. Traditionally low volume or prototype tooling is made of Teak but GLC was looking for a method of producing this tooling faster and more cost effectively for their customers. After initial discussions and basic research the idea appeared to have merit but a test needed to be designed in order to validate that HP MJF printed Nylon 12 would hold up to the harsh environment that traditional Teak or metal foundry tooling is subjected to.
A pyramid shaped part was devised that could be bolted into an existing metal casting pattern currently being run at GLC so that it could be subjected to the sand filling process that is used on a DISAMATIC line.
This harsh environment that the HP MJF Foundry Tooling would be subjected to is due to how a DISAMATIC line functions:
The test pyramid tooling was bolted onto one of the tooling plates that formed the molding chamber that the sand is blasted into. This causes it to be sand blasted at a high pressure each time the machine cycles to produce a mold. During initial conversations about the potential validity of the Nylon 12 material that the HP MJF printer uses the question was raised if plastic would hold up to this environment. The pyramid was visually inspected throughout the 13,000 test cycles and while it was obvious due to the color change of the part that the pyramid was wearing down, no major erosion was evident visually:
In order to fully quantify the how much wear the pyramid sustained over the 13,000 cycles GLC laser scanned the part and compared it to the original CAD file that was used to 3D print the part, the results speak for themselves:
After the initial success of the pyramid test F3DP and GLC have gone on to scale up the size of parts being produced with the HP MJF process to make foundry tooling, here are some examples of other projects that are currently being run on the DISAMATIC line at GLC:
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