Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping – also called 3D printing, additive manufacturing or rapid manufacturing – is a production technique in which a digital 3D file is transposed into a physical product. It offers unique possibilities for presenting your product functionally and visually in the design phase or in a small series.

Rapid prototyping of castings

Rapid prototyping (‘RPT’) is all about creating a physical product as quickly as possible. Within a few weeks after receipt of your 3D file, we can deliver your rapid prototyping casting. This allows you to evaluate the actual design and to determine whether the current design satisfies your requirements and wishes. In addition, any changes can be implemented easily. The investment in a casting mould, normally required for lost wax casting, is not necessary.

economic feasibility

Many RPT techniques only look at the technical complexity of a product. But at CIREX, we start by emphasising the economic feasibility of producing your product later in series, so that your rapid prototyping components have been created for a good reason!

Rapid Prototyping by CIREX

3D printing of wax models

CIREX mainly uses printed wax models based on a 3D design. These models can be used immediately in the manufacture of the ceramic mould required for casting. The printed wax models are treed up into a wax tree and then given a ceramic coating. After the wax has melted away and the ceramic form has been fired to 1000°C, the liquid steel (1600°C) is poured into the empty ceramic mould. After cooling down, the ceramic is removed: the steel has congealed into the shape of the printed wax model.

So no wax injection matrix is needed to make a few parts. The wax model is printed and not made from a matrix. This saves matrix costs and reduces costly production time. The remainder of the production process is realised in the same manner as the ultimate series production.

 

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • high degree of dimensioning precision
  • good surface quality
  • product can be cast in all types of steel
  • the remainder of the manufacturing process is equivalent to later production in series
  • printing wax models is more expensive than injecting into a matrix

3D printing of PMMA models

Using our rapid prototyping printer, we can print plastic PMMA (poly(methyl methacrylate)) models in a very short time. These PMMA models are an exact copy of the 3D file you deliver. The RPT models are given a ceramic outer layer; after that, the core can be burned out. This material lends itself well to burning out the core without much residue remaining behind. That is why this material is suitable for printing 3D models for the lost wax casting process.

Advantages and disadvantages:

  • less precise dimensioning as compared with 3D printing in wax
  • slightly rougher surface quality as compared with 3D printing in wax
  • product can be cast in all types of steel
  • product cannot be used immediately in series
  • extremely suitable for testing a functional design
  • PMMA models are a relatively cheap solution as compared with 3D printing in wax

Complete advice and support

An expert team of CIREX engineers supports your project carefully and makes recommendations as to which design type and which course of rapid prototyping (RPT) is best for your application.

CIREX provides you with total support in:

  • engineering your product
  • preparing 3D files
  • selecting the required technology
  • advice concerning the choice of material
  • producing the test series
  • technical evaluation of the project

With the ultimate goal of starting up the series production without risk. The possibilities with RPT technologies at CIREX are endless. Your ideas, insights and innovations can now be transformed into tangible models within a few weeks. This helps accelerate your development process considerably.