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Investment Casting

with Z Corp Patterns

Z Printer Application:
Investment Casting
The Z Corporation 3D Z-Printer creates prototypes quickly and easily at
any point in the design process. High production speed and low part cost
make this system ideal for printing many iterations throughout the design
process. Thats why Z-Printers are the solution of choice for design and
engineering teams at prominent organizations such as NASA and
Ford Motor Company. As each design progresses, the versatility of the 3D Z-Printer also makes it an extremely fast way to
produce patterns for secondary model production.
3D parts printed with a Z Printer are often used as investment
casting patterns to quickly produce metal parts. These patterns
can then be used instead of a standard wax pattern in the investment casting process - saving substantial costs while signicantly
shortening the production/manufacturing process.
Z-Printer parts burn out well and do not have any expansion problems
that would lead to shell cracking further enhancing their value in the
investment casting process.
Z Corporation customers, including Ford and NASA, report that investment
casting parts made with the Z-Printer is a reliable way to get a nal prototype that is ready for production. Many users also rely on the Z-Printer for
short-run production when speed is extremely important.

Case Example:
Ford Motor Company
When Ford Motor Company needed to make a seemingly impossible 4-week
deadline, the Z Corporation 3D Z-Printer proved to be the fastest way to produce the complex support brackets they needed. To meet this challenge,
the Ford team printed these bulky patterns in just a few hours. The parts
were sent straight to a foundry where they were cast in aluminum.
The parts had a 100% success rate with no surface problems or deformation. The time that Ford saved by using Z Corp. 3D printed parts - rather
than standard wax patterns which require time-consuming hard tooling
- was the key to beating the essential deadline. Ford continues to rely on Z
Corp. Z-Printers as a way to get the detailed cast parts they need fast and
cost-effectively.
Erik Johnson, an Engineer with Ford Motor Companys Automatic Transmission Operations, explained their support of the Z Corp. 3D Printing System
in Fords design community, The Z Corp. System has really allowed us to
push the envelope of 3D product design and has been a perfect t in our
design process.

For more information on


Ford refer to Z Corporation
Industry Case Study: Automotive Industry

NASA Casting Study


In a recent study of rapid prototypes used as investment casting patterns,
NASA found patterns produced by Z-Printers to be a fast, precise and inexpensive way to get cast parts.
The 3DP
P pattern burnout was clean, likened unto using a wax pattern. The
nal surface nish of the casting was about 300 micro-inches, with only a
few surface inclusions and shrink pits. It was expected, due to the economical advantage of the 3DP process, that the castings would
be somewhat rougher than more expensive processes, which
turned out to be the case here. These patterns provide faster,
less expensive alternatives to acquire near-net shape castings.
-FINAL REPORT: APPLICATION OF RAPID PROTOTYPING TO INVESTMENT CASTING OF TEST HARDWARE, Fall 1999

Investment Casting with


Z Corp. Patterns
Consult with experienced foundry personnel to incorporate best practices
in casting design when designing your pattern. They will help the designer
or engineer to design their model with the gate, runners and secondary
operations in mind. Success has been achieved consistently in a variety of
situations and locations to accelerate the investment casting process while
producing superior nished products.

SUMMARY:
Z Corporations 3D Z-Printers add speed and utility to the design and manufacturing process. Beyond the creation of rapid prototypes and models,
Z-Printers also output precision parts that an increasing number of organizations are using for investment casting and even functional prototypes.
When inltrated with high-strength epoxy, Z Corporation parts are tough
and durable enough to drill, mill and, in some cases, to function as actual
replacement parts.

All company and product names are trademarks or


registered trademarks of their respective owners.
2006 Z Corporation. All rights reserved.

Worldwide Headquarters
Z Corporation
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Burlington, MA 01803 USA

718-852-5005
www.zcorp.com