Casting Metal with 3D Printed Patterns

Click on image to View a High-Res SolidWorks Rendering of Workshop Vises

Click on image to View a High-Res SolidWorks Rendering of Workshop Vises

A little history of how this project started …

Aluminum Vise Metal Casting made from 3D-Printed Patterns

Aluminum Vise Metal Casting made from 3D-Printed Patterns

Below is an image you can click on for a larger view of the Finished Aluminum Vise with 3D-Printed Jaws that I have mounted to my inside workshop table …

Completed Aluminum Vise made with SolidWorks ~ 3D-Printing & Metal Casting

In June of 2014, Tom Lipton sent me a couple older workshop vises to draw using SolidWorks CAD Software for the purpose of creating a 3D-Model to brainstorm out a design for 3D-printing metal casting patterns for the vises.

Measuring the Old Vises Tom Sent to Me in 2014

Measuring the Old Vises Tom Sent to Me in 2014

Creating 3D-Printed metal casting patterns was new to me back then, so I went into this project somewhat blind not knowing how it would turn out …

Below are the SW2014 original designs opened in the newer SW2016.

The Original 'Simplistic' 3D-Printed Pattern Concepts for the Boley Vise

The Original ‘Simplistic’ 3D-Printed Pattern Concepts for the Boley Vise

I got busy on other projects but did send the SolidWorks files to Tom, and I haven’t had time to keep up on his YouTube Videos, so don’t know if he has made any patterns with the CAD files I sent to him in 2014?

I’m sure Mr. Lipton will come up with something very cool & interesting! 😎
He ALWAYS does very  interesting projects!!

SolidWorks Rendering of some 3D-Printed items designed with Tom Lipton

SolidWorks Rendering of some 3D-Printed items designed with Tom Lipton

Also in the summer of 2014, I worked with Keith Rucker to make several Brass casting designs using 3D-Printed patterns for one of his ‘Vintage Machinery’ YouTube Channel projects …

Locomotive Drain Cock: Pattern Making with a 3-D Printer

ALSO ~ 3D-Printed Patterns to Cast Aluminum Drill Press Knobs

3D-Printed Test Parts for Keith Rucker's Projects

3D-Printed Test Parts for Keith Rucker’s Projects

Fast forward to Summer 2015, when my friend SuperDave and I started talking about designing some 3D-Printed Patterns which he would cast using the foundry furnace he designed and built …

I remembered making the 2014 ‘simplistic’ pattern design for the Boley-Vise and suggested we use it as a test pattern to just to see how it would pull out of the casting sand …

CAD Concept for the Boley Vise Body 3D-Printed Pattern

CAD Concept for the Boley Vise Body 3D-Printed Pattern

The test pattern didn’t have all the vise features on it, but was ready to go, so I decided to 3D-Print it and send the pattern to SuperDave to ‘test cast’ out of Aluminum and possibly Cast Iron  …

CAD Concept for the Boley Vise Slide 3D-Printed Pattern

CAD Concept for the Boley Vise Slide 3D-Printed Pattern

I added male & female notches to the pattern for connecting extra features such as a ‘well’ to pour in the molten metal …

AFINIA 3D Printing Software Showing the Vise Split Casting Pattern

AFINIA 3D Printing Software Showing the Vise Split Casting Pattern

Long Story Short ~ I Printed Up the Vise Patterns to Test

3D-Printing is not fast; however, you do not have to watch the printer for the many hours it takes to 3D-print items … So you can go out and work on other items in the shop feeling like you’re getting twice the work done 😄

3D-Printed Metal Casting 'Sand Mold' Patterns

3D-Printed Metal Casting ‘Sand Mold’ Patterns

Different metals shrink at different percentages while they are cooling after being molten; therefore, we drew the patterns in SolidWorks CAD Software and then used the ‘Centroid’ Scale feature to enlarge the patterns to account for the shrinkage of whatever metal SuperDave was going to cast them out of …

Which works very well to create accurate dimension final castings.

Used SolidWorks' SCALE Feature to Enlarge Patterns to Account for Shrinkage

Used SolidWorks’ SCALE Feature to Enlarge Patterns to Account for Shrinkage

In addition, SuperDave found an article from an old machining magazine with design & part dimensions we could draw using SolidWorks to create 3D-Printed patterns for a ‘Slotting Tool’ attachment for metal lathes …

SolidWorks Concept of Lathe Slotting Tool

SolidWorks Concept of Modified Slotting Tool for My Lathe

Each Metal Lathe model is different, thus requiring different dimensions and metal casting shapes  …

SolidWorks Concept for a Different 'Slotting Tool' Design

SolidWorks Concept for a Different ‘Slotting Tool’ Design

Made a Quick Video to Show the Moving Parts in a SolidWorks Assembly …

Click on this image to View a Short Video of the SolidWorks Assembly

Click on this image to View a Short Video of the SolidWorks Assembly

I had an additional optional use for the ‘Slotting Tool’ on my Metal Lathe …

3D-Printed Split-Patterns to Create My Modified Lathe Slotter Version

3D-Printed ‘Split-Pattern’ to Create My Modified Slotter Version

Therefore, I created a SolidWorks version of the Slotter casting I wished to have for my metal lathe, while SuperDave designed a different version for his lathe ~ Then he emailed to me the SolidWorks design files to print.

3D-Printed Split-Patterns to Create SuperDave's Slotter Design

3D-Printed Split-Patterns to Create SuperDave’s Slotter Design

Once we had the final Split-Pattern designs, I converted the SolidWorks files to .STL files, and 3D-Printed them on my AFINIA 3D printer …

3D-Printing SuperDave's Version of the Lathe Slotting Tool

3D-Printing SuperDave’s Version of the Lathe Slotting Tool

The test patterns we made are not a true representation of the original old German Boley-Vise, but they should create a hybrid vise which can be machined into a nice workshop tool 😊

3D-Printed Runners & Gates for Metal Casting

3D-Printed Runners & Gates for Metal Casting

SuperDave came up with the idea to create multi-use 3D-Printed ‘runners’ and ‘gates’ to create channels for the molten metal to run into the hollow ‘Sand Mold’ patterns …

Different Size Notched Metal Casting Runners

Different Size Notched Metal Casting Runners

So I created several different shapes with a common notched connection size whereby and ‘runners’ can be connected in different channel patterns …

Just goofing around on the carpet, found 0ne can make lots of interesting shapes with the notched runners 😜

Just for Fun Notched Together all the 3D-Printed Runners

Just for Fun Notched Together all the 3D-Printed Runners

Sent all the 3D-Printed Test items over to SuperDave & Shop-Monster …

SuperDave & Shop Monster

SuperDave & Shop Monster

SuperDave has a Metal Melting Foundry Furnace he created, and if you watch Keith Rucker’s ‘Vintage Machinery’ YouTube Channel, you already know that Keith based the design of some of the furnace parts he is making off of SuperDave’s Design.

Keith Ruckers 'Vintage Machinery' YouTube Channel

Keith Ruckers ‘Vintage Machinery’ YouTube Channel

Keith and I have been updating the CAD designs for his Oil Fired Foundry Furnace as his project progresses, and when done, I will use the SolidWorks CAD designs to create a set of PDF drawings which Keith can give to his viewers which will show the build dimensions & parts list.

Hinge Concept I Fabricated for Keith Rucker's Foundry Furnace

Hinge Concept I Fabricated for Keith Rucker’s Foundry Furnace

I’ve helped weld up a few parts for Keith’s Foundry Furnace; but mostly I’m following his project videos on YouTube, so that when he is done I can use his designs & SuperDave’s designs to build my own Foundry Furnace in the future.

SolidWorks Design for Foundry Furnace Keith Rucker is Building

SolidWorks Design for Foundry Furnace Keith Rucker is Building

Below are photos SuperDave sent to me of the Metal Casting Process ~ Cool!!

Thank You Sir!!!

Melting Scrap Metal in SuperDave's Metal Casting Furnace

Melting Scrap Metal in SuperDave’s Metal Casting Furnace

Prior to heating up the furnace he creates the Sand Molds

The casting sand is called ‘Green Sand‘ and the box the green sand is placed inside to go around the patterns is called a ‘Flask‘.

3D-Printed Half-Pattern is Placed Inside Sand Mold Casting Flask

3D-Printed Half-Pattern is Placed Inside Sand Mold Casting Flask

The process of pressing sand around the patterns is called ‘Ramming’ …

Click Here for Information about Sand Casting Metal

1st Half of the Flask Turned Over After Ramming

1st Half of the Flask Turned Over After Ramming

The patterns are split so you can press sand tightly around one half of the ‘Sand Mold’ pattern inside the flask … and then flip it over … and then align the second half of the pattern … and then press ‘ram’ sand tightly around it …

The 2nd Half of the Patterns is Now Used

The 2nd Half of the Patterns is Now Used

The patterns are aligned using alignment dowels and holes …

If you click on the images you will see a larger view which will allow you to see how the different 3D-Printed parts are connected with the notched areas …

This images shows the Alignment Holes & Alignment Dowels

This images shows the Alignment Holes & Alignment Dowels

Once the Sand is pressed tight around the 3D-Printed patterns … then the flask halves are separated and the patterns carefully removed …

Then the flask halves are connected back together creating the full hollow pattern area to pour in the molten metal.

2nd Half of the Split Patterns is Placed onto the 1st Half of the Patterns

2nd Half of the Split Patterns is Placed onto the 1st Half of the Patterns

Nice thing about these 3D-Printed patterns is they also produce extra parts I am going to machine on the lathe to create ‘Watering Manifolds’ for the backyard garden …

Extra Aluminum Cast Parts that Will be Machined to Make Water Manifolds

Extra Aluminum Cast Parts that Will be Machined to Make Water Manifolds

Additional ‘gates’ and ‘runners’ are carved into the sand to create channels for the molten metal to run and vents for gases and excess metal to expand …

Reverse Image Hollow Area in Sand Created with the CTM Slotter Pattern

Reverse Image Hollow Area in Sand Created with the CTM Slotter Pattern

The molten metal fills the hollow areas in the shape of the patterns … and when the metal cools you have castings …

A Core Placed in the Sand Mold to Create a Hollow Area in the Casting

A Core Placed in the Sand Mold to Create a Hollow Area in the Casting

On some parts ‘Cores’ are added to create hollow areas in the Castings …

Experimented Using Carbon Rods for Pattern Cores
(Including Air Carbon Arc Gouging Rods)
SuperDave’s Idea!!

Foundry Furnace Heated Up with Molten Metal Inside the Crucible

Foundry Furnace Heated Up with Molten Metal Inside the Crucible

The metal is melted in a Ceramic Pot called a ‘Crucible’ …

Closer View Inside the Foundry Furnace Heated to 1200 degrees F.

Closer View Inside the Foundry Furnace Heated to 1200 degrees F.

Once the Aluminum has melted at about 1200° F ~  It is poured into one or more riser holes in the top of the sand Flask until it comes out of the other risers …

Aluminum Cooling in Flask After Being Poured in Molten at 1200° F.

Aluminum Cooling in Flask After Being Poured in Molten at 1200° F.

The risers have an additional benefit of adding extra metal weight to press down on the molten Metal to better fill the hollow pattern areas in the sand molds.

View of Casting After Being Removed from Sand and Cleaned Off

View of Casting After Being Removed from Sand and Cleaned Off

Once the metal cools, the castings are removed from the sand and cleaned …

Shop-Monster Supervising the Metal Casting Process from a Distance

Shop-Monster Supervising the Metal Casting Process from a Distance

Below area several views of the Aluminum ‘CTM’ version Slotter Aluminum Casting:

CTM Slotter Casting Side-View

CTM Slotter Casting Side-View

Metal Castings lessen the time to machine the metal to create a specific part …

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Top-View

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Top-View

Any areas you don’t want to have a rough finish can quickly be smoothed with a grinder or belt sander …

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Bottom-View

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Bottom-View

On many cast parts, areas are left rough so they are not slippy when used as tools and/or some areas are machined flat & smooth to fit up with other parts …

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool End-View Showing the Hollow Core Area

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool End-View Showing the Hollow Core Area

If ‘Sand’ or ‘Carbon Rod’ Cores were used they can easily be cleaned out …

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Front-View

CTM Lathe Slotter Tool Front-View

I’m actually not going to use this casting to create a slotter; instead, it will be a 1-Bolt ‘Quick-Connect’ attachment for my metal lathe to quickly knurl grooves inside Delrin parts that will have other parts pressed into them …

I’ll show a Video of how it works in a future posting on this website 😄

Cast Iron Test Version of the CTM Slotter Pattern

Cast Iron Test Version of the CTM Slotter Pattern

Much to my surprise SuperDave Cast all the Patterns in different metals!!
Cast Iron, Aluminum, and Brass 😀

Metal Castings SuperDave made using Cast Iron, Aluminum, and Brass

Metal Castings SuperDave made using Cast Iron, Aluminum, and Brass

Even ‘Turtlebutt‘ ( The Amazing Adopted Desert Tortoise ) got in on the action inspecting SuperDave’s metal castings made from 3D-Printed patterns 😜

Turtlebutt Reviewing the Metal Castings made from 3D-Printed Patterns

Turtlebutt Reviewing the Metal Castings made from 3D-Printed Patterns

This was a collaborative effort between Las Vegas and Oklahoma, with most of the credit going to SuperDave’s metal casting ideas & abilities …

So I want to thank SuperDave for all his patience working together to design the 3D-Printed patterns into something he could cast out of metal.
https://www.youtube.com/user/SUPERDAVE257/videos

WELL DONE & THANK YOU SUPERDAVE!!
( and Shop-Monster for Supervising )

Shop-Monster After a Long Day of Supervising Metal Casting

Shop-Monster After a Long Day of Supervising Metal Casting

In several future postings, as time allows, I’ll show the finished Machined items created from these metal castings!

A Partially Machined Aluminum Casting of the Vice I Will Be Finishing Later

A Partially Machined Aluminum Casting of the Vice I Will Be Finishing Later

… and a few more projects SuperDave and I are working on 😄

Cast Iron Version of the 'Modified' Old German Boley Vise

Cast Iron Version of the ‘Modified’ Old German Boley Vise

UPDATE:

Aluminum Vise Slide Mounted on the Milling Machine Bed

Aluminum Vise Slide Mounted on the Milling Machine Bed

Made an Aluminum Mounting Block to help machine the small workshop vises.

SolidWorks Screen-Capture image of My Milling Machine Set-Up

SolidWorks Screen-Capture image of My Milling Machine Set-Up

Have the Mill’s Clamp-Down mounting items drawn into SolidWorks so I can test mounting set-ups for parts when traveling and not at home …

Clamp-Down Kit CAD Files can be Found on GrabCAD.com

Clamp-Down Kit CAD Files can be Found on GrabCAD.com

The CAD files can be found on GrabCAD.com    Click to View Clamp Kit

Threading the Aluminum Mounting Block to Match Vise Set-ups

Threading the Aluminum Mounting Block to Match Vise Set-ups

The Harbor Freight Tools  T-Handle Tap Ratcheting Wrench works great!!

Works with Taps from 1/4″ up to 5/8″  ( Item Number: 97633 )

T-Handle Tap Ratcheting Wrench for 1/4" to 5/8" Taps

T-Handle Tap Ratcheting Wrench for 1/4″ to 5/8″ Taps

The Mill makes Tapping the Small Threads much easier …

Tapping Small #6 x 32 TPI is Much More Stable When Done on the Lathe

Tapping Small #6 x 32 TPI is Much More Stable When Done on the Lathe

The blu-DRO has made this project much more fun to machine!!  Thanks Al!!

Click Here for More info about the blu-DRO

The blu-DRO Digital Readout has been Very Helpful

The blu-DRO Digital Readout has been Very Helpful

Since I have several vises in different materials this Aluminum Block of metal can be turned in different ways to hold the vise parts for machining …

Cutting out the Center Area before Cutting the Dovetail Grooves in Vise

Cutting out the Center Area before Cutting the Dovetail Grooves in Vise

Lots of different steps to cut dovetails & bore holes in the vise castings …

Drilling the Center Hole in the Small Aluminum Vice

Drilling the Center Hole in the Small Aluminum Vice

Here are a few photos machining the Aluminum version of the Small Vice …

Close-Up View of the Aluminum Vise on the Milling Mount Block

Close-Up View of the Aluminum Vise on the Milling Mount Block

I’ll add on more photos later as I have time to work on the different vises …

Another View of Vice Being Drilled on the Milling Machine

Another View of Vice Being Drilled on the Milling Machine

UPDATE …

Aluminum Vise Body with Extra Jaw Mounting Holes on the Top

Aluminum Vise Body with Extra Jaw Mounting Holes on the Top

Took some time to make a few additional steel parts for the Aluminum vise …

Steel Vise Parts Before TIG Welding them Together

Steel Vise Parts Before TIG Welding them Together

Used scrap metal had in the Shop to make the steel vise parts …

Another View of the Steel Vise Part Prior to Being TIG Welding Together

Another View of the Steel Vise Part Prior to Being TIG Welding Together

First cut some of the parts on the Metal Lathe …

Finished Steel Parts After Being Machined with the Metal Lathe

Finished Steel Parts After Being Machined with the Metal Lathe

After TIG Welding the steel parts together I re-cut them again in the lathe …

Image Showing How the Two Steel Vise Parts Fit Together

Image Showing How the Two Steel Vise Parts Fit Together

Decided to use 1/4″ x 20 TPI All-Thread as the handle rod for the vise …

Made a Threaded Vise Handle Out of All-Thread

Made a Threaded Vise Handle Out of All-Thread

Nuts on the Vise Handel allow it to be removed or locked in the center position to make it easier to spin with just one finger while tightening jaws …

Nuts Allow the Handle to be Locked in the Center Position

Nuts Allow the Handle to be Locked in the Center Position

Once done with the vise parts, I may sand and shine up the vise body and then make several different types of Vise Jaws to attach to vise …

3D-Printed a Set of Plastic Soft Jaws for Delicate Parts

3D-Printed a Set of Plastic Soft Jaws for Delicate Parts

UPDATE :

3D-Printed a set of Plastic ‘Soft-Jaws’ … 

Plastic Soft-Jaws will not Scratch or Crush Parts Held in the Vise

Plastic Soft-Jaws will not Scratch or Crush Parts Held in the Vise

Next set of Soft-Jaws for this vise I will be making out of Copper.

Tried to Keep the Bottom Mount Area Simple to Attach with 1/4" Bolts

Tried to Keep the Bottom Mount Area Simple to Attach with 1/4″ Bolts

Decided not to shine up the Aluminum because I like the Weathered look.

Link ~ 3D-Printed Patterns used to Cast Drill Press Handles

… CHEERS!!!

 

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3 Comments

Filed under 3D-Printing, CONCEPTS, Metal Casting, PROJECTS, SolidWorks CAD Rendering, WORKSHOP

3 responses to “Casting Metal with 3D Printed Patterns

  1. Great job. What were the cores made from?

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