SLA, DLP and Solidscape Lost wax casting
One of the largest applications for 3D printing is the use of SLA, DLP and Solidscape in lost wax casting jewelry. Many individual high end jewelry pieces and series of rings, earrings and pendants are cast worldwide. The risks and considerations are the same as stated above for SLA and DLP. Solidscape is an ink jetting technology combined with a milling step. Generally the systems are seen as having less throughput and detail than SLA/DLP systems but are easier to implement in small foundries. The Solidscape systems also use wax or materials similar to wax. Compared to SLA/DLP the casting company will typically have to make less adjustments to its casting process to implement the technology.
These technologies all have in common that they save on labor. Even in low cost countries these 3D printing technologies have been widely adopted in the jewelry industry. Even with high resin cost parts are cheaper than making the wax pattern by hand.
When to use SLA, Solidscape or DLP for lost wax casting: When a jewelry company would like to save costs on the production of jewelry pieces.
How to get started: Vendors such as Envisiontec, Solidscape, Asiga and 3D Systems typically will make demo parts for you for you to test.
Considerations to take into account: When switching to 3D printing as a manufacturing technology lack of 3D modeling or CAD skills are often a key bottleneck. Especially in the lost wax casting applications companies will usually have to take care in hiring in house CAD staff to upgrade their workflow to a digital one.
FDM lost wax casting and molding.
A relatively new field is to use desktop or industrial 3D printers for lost wax casting or molding. Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printers use a filament made from an engineering plastic which is extruded and melted onto a build platform. The technology is colloquially referred to as FDM and also called FFF. Typically surface roughness on FDM parts will be higher than SLA/DLP. FDM parts are faster however. The total time from idea to 3D printed part is shortest with FDM because there is little to no post processing required. For casting however parts will have to be smoothed in a tumbler, by machining or by vapor smoothing. Even with these steps included FDM parts that are 50mm to 300mm in size are able to be put to use significantly faster than with SLA/DLP. There is also a much wider variety of materials on offer in FDM. Many system vendors of desktop 3D printers are open. This means that the customer can put any material in their 3D printer from any vendor. The Nectar One is open as well. If you want, you can purchase materials directly from us. Our on board RFID system will recognize the material and make sure that you have the right settings on your printer. If however you’d like to use a material from another vendor you are free to do so. This means that the desktop 3D printing ecosystem using FDM as a technology is growing much faster and quicker than other technologies. With open 3D printers material vendors and specialist have been able to flourish and bring much more open R&D to 3D printing.
When to use FDM for lost wax casting and molding: Typically in parts that are larger than 50mm in diameter there are significant cost and time savings when using FDM in stead of other technologies. If you have a particular molding and casting application for which there is no suitable material in place it would be easiest to develop this material for FDM.
How to get started: You can order 3D printed parts from a 3D printing service. Or let us know what your requirements are and we’ll get you a sample part to test.
Considerations to take into account: Surface roughness of the parts will need to be addressed. Depending on your part and the shape of your part FDM may be the best suited technology for you or another could be superior.