The marriage of 3D printing to the investment casting process has become a go-to method for artists, jewelers, medical and dental application designers and anyone who needs to translate complex designs to traditional materials.
The technique begins with a detailed, finely finished 3D print of exceptional quality.
Lost-wax casting or investment casting is a common and flexible part production technique. Using the traditional method, a model or "pattern" is made in wax, a plaster mold is created surrounding the wax model, and then that mold is fired in a kiln. The wax is burned out or "lost" to allow the metal parts to be cast in the resulting mold. This same technique is now used with complex 3D printed parts. Engineers have even used the "lost-3DP" method to cast stainless steel.
Now Formlabs has created Castable Resin to translate those prints for investment through the mold making process. Castable was developed specifically with burnout in mind and the new resin burns out cleanly with no ash or residue, critical properties for perfect jewelry making, metalwork, and engineering applications.
Castable Resin is designed for use in ultra high-resolution prints required by the most discerning designers, and it's the product of an exhaustive research and development process.
Formlabs has also announced a second functional resin called Flexible. It is pliable when used in thin applications and more resilient when printed in thick applications. Flexible Resin is expected to go on sale in December.
Both Castable and Flexible resins are fully compatible with the Form 1+ 3D Printer and the Form 1, and the developers say "we've tested them over and over, and they're perfectly calibrated for our machines."