Rapid prototyping is an innovative, cutting edge technology that distinguishes Bimac from other foundries. Rapid prototyping is a general term given to a host of related additive manufacturing technologies and processes, including 3-D printing and powder binder jetting technology, and is used to generate castings from 3D CAD data sources. This technology allows Bimac to make pattern-less castings, thus dramatically cutting lead time and cost of castings made from traditional investment tooling. Thanks to today’s RP technology, castings can be made with any geometric complexity or intricacy, and without the need for elaborate tooling, cores, or core boxes.
Rapid Prototyping is typically used to produce a pattern within a short timeframe in order to test a design or scale up process before moving forward with large scale investment tooling. 3D printed sand molds are used in place of low run traditional sand castings that would otherwise require a cope and drag pattern. This process is ideal for scale up and aftermarket applications. It is also often used to create single replacement parts for machinery that is out of production. RP impellers are commonly 3D cast to get pumps up and running quickly in oil fields.
3-D Printing is the fastest of all rapid prototyping methods, offering advantages of speedy fabrication and lower material cost. Bimac has the capability to produce 3-D printed castings up to 150 pounds in our investment process, and 300 lbs from a 3D printed sand mold. Typically, lead time is 5 weeks compared to tooling lead time of 12 weeks. Contact us to learn more about this process and how you could take advantage of 3-D printing in your project.
Powder Binder Jetting is the 3D investment process used whereby a layer of fine granular plastic is laid down in a build bed and details are jetted 2D in increments. Once this layer is placed, the bed drops 0.0049 inches and another layer is placed until a 3D object is printed. The resulting layers are chemically fused together in a process resulting in PMMA poly (methyl methacrylate), also known as plexiglass. PMMA patterns are strong, resistant to warpage, and dimensionally sound. Contact us to learn if powder binder jetting is recommended for your project.