Continuing on from my last blog in March, 'manufacturing aluminium prototype parts quickly'. The 3D printed parts have been used as masters to make the sand casting mould and they were then sent off for heat treatment.
I printed out two master parts and gave them to the foundry, altogether we ordered 27 parts. It's great that by only printing two parts in plastic, you can essentially use these as masters to make as many aluminium parts as needed. We printed two because it cuts the lead time down to make the two part moulds, cutting the time almost in half.
The part up close
So with the parts cast and heat treated, it was now down to working out how to hold the parts to machine in the detail that was needed. After quite a bit of discussion with the machinist, we came up with this jig that would hold the casting in place whilst milling in a deep slot on the top face.
The part post machined.
With all the parts machined, they are now off to polishing. To sum up that's 27 parts complete ready for surface finishing, all made from 2 3D printed masters.