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Aluminum Casting with 3D Prints Answered

Is there any reliant and consist way to create high RPM gears using 3D prints?

What I had planned to do is 3D print some gears out, make silicon molds out of them and then pouring wax in the silicon molds. I then would put the wax into sand and then pour molten aluminum into it. To me, it sounds good in theory but I thought somebody else might have tried making PLA 3D prints into metal.



4 years ago

I know a guy here in austin that puts the PLA directly into investmement and the burns out the pla just like you would wax. (He prints the part and the attaches wax sprues to it) He has done cast iron this way, but I'd bet aluminum would work too. Play with small parts first as you may have to do a higher temp burn out.

I've also used quick-sil, a jewelry molding rubber to make an impression directly from the pla before, but I think it's only good to 600 degrees or so. I.e. Not high enough temp for AL.


Reply 4 years ago

Oh, and in case it's not obvious, lord only knows what kind of fumes pla puts off if when it evaporates, so do it outside and consider a mask. May be overkill, but hey.. Your lungs, right?


4 years ago

Depends on how accurate you need the gears...

Something coarse and for moderate speeds might work just fine, but fine teeth and high speeds are nothing for casting.

And if you want high speed gears to last you don't use aluminium as it is a really soft metal.

But again, the right type of gear might still work just fine.

In any case I think you will spend a lot of time finnishing the cast gears before they might be usable.