Using Wax Filament Additive Manufacturing for Low-Volume Investment Casting

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Date

2019

Authors

Andrew, K.
Weaver, J.M.

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Publisher

University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Investment casting is a popular method of converting wax or polymer patterns into metal objects. For low-volumes these patterns can be manufactured using additive manufacturing. However, burning out conventional additive thermoplastics like PLA can be more problematic than removing wax. Often these plastics leave ash residue on the cavity surface, leading to defects in the final metal part. Possible solutions to this problem include using ash-free materials like wax or adjusting parameters to lessen ash buildup. With sufficient consistency in quality, investment casting can be an attractive alternative to metal additive processes. This paper discusses using wax filament on a conventional desktop fused filament fabrication (FFF) additive machine, including discoveries, settings, and design guidelines leading to successful wax prints. The resulting wax filament castings are compared to identical castings produced from colored PLA, and advantages and disadvantages of using wax filament are discussed.

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