Among the companies using 3-D printing techniques in research-and-design efforts to speed up prototype development is Wisconsin Precision Casting.
"Metal components produced using rapid prototyping can be created and shipped between 10 and 15 working days," says Dean Kirschner, sales and marketing manager.
"Creating the same part using the traditional process requires between 4 and 5 weeks just to build the die." Wisconsin Precision uses 3-D printers to rapidly prototype or print plastic models. The models are used as a pattern to build a ceramic mold around. After the ceramic mold is constructed, the plastic model is then removed. Metals are poured into the resulting ceramic mold to quickly create metal components.
Manifold cast utilizing a 3-D printed model (Courtesy of Wisconsin Precision Casting)
Multiple testing is another advantage of 3-D printing, Kirschner says. For example, they can produce a tractor part out of four different alloys and test each one simultaneously.
Precision Casting serves a variety of agricultural equipment manufacturers.