Prospect of Making Ceramic Shell Mold by Ceramic Laser Fusion

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Tang, H. H.
Yen, H. C.
Su, S. M.
Lin, Z. Y.

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Manufacturing prototypical castings by conventional investment casting not only takes several weeks, but also is prohibitively expensive. Z Corporation in USA, EOS GmbH and IPT in Germany employ the techniques of 3DP and SLS respectively to make directly ceramic shell molds for metal castings. Although those techniques dramatically reduce time expenditure and production cost, each layer cannot be thinner than 50 µm because of using powder to pave layers. The dimensional accuracy and roughness of the castings still cannot meet the specification of precision casting. Therefore, in this paper the ceramic laser fusion (CLF) was used to pave layers. Each layer can be thinner than 25 µm, so that the step effect can be diminished and the workpiece surface can be smoother; drying time will be shortened dramatically. Moreover, the inherent solid-state support formed by green portion has the capability of preventing upward and downward deformation of the scanned cross sections. In order to make shell mold which meets the roughness requirement (Rq=3.048µm) of the precision casting, following issues have to be further studied: (1) design a proper ceramic shell mold structure, (2) design a paving chamber for paving a complete green layer which can be easily collapsed, (3) cut down drying time, (4) optimize laser scanning process parameters with the smallest distortion, (5) eliminate sunken area, (6) reduce layer thickness to less than13µm, (7) control power to guarantee the energy uniformly absorbed by workpiece, and (8) develop a method which can directly clean green portion in cavity from gate.


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