The QuickCast style pattern(s) are produced on a 3D Systems SLA stereolithography systems. Using QuickCast style patterns reduces cost and time by eliminating the tooling necessary to injection mold a wax pattern.
The QuickCast style patterns are attached to a sprue (central wax bar) with gates (wax runners) to form a cluster or tree.
The shell mold is built by dipping (investing) the tree into ceramic slurry. The first layer is a “facecoat” of very fine slurry that will aid in reproducing fine, detailed features.
Then the shell is coated with fine ceramic refractory grains (sand). After drying, this process of dipping and coating is repeated with coarser refractory grains to obtain the desired shell or mold thickness.
Once the shell mold is dry, it is heated in an Autoclave to allow the wax sprue and gates to run out. Alternatively, you may also melt out the wax sprue and gates during the next step in a flashfire furnace.
The tree is heated in a Flashfire furnace at high temperature to sinter the mold and remove the QuickCast pattern. Removing the wax and QuickCast pattern has now produced a negative impression of the assembly.
Molten metal is poured into the pre-heated mold by gravity, pressure, vacuum or centrifugal force. As the metal cools; the parts, gates and sprue become one solid casting.
When the metal has cooled and solidified, the ceramic shell is removed by mechanical vibration, chemical cleaning or water blasting. The method may depend on the particular metal cast.
Parts are cut from the sprue and gate stubs and then ground smooth. Parts are now ready for straightening, tempering or additional processes.
Inspection for dimensional accuracy, material density, mechanical properties, etc.