Ubiquitous Engineering | 3D Printing Used to Produce Reusable Sand Casting Moulds

Case Study

//Ubiquitous Engineering | 3D Printing Used to Produce Reusable Sand Casting Moulds
Ubiquitous Engineering | 3D Printing Used to Produce Reusable Sand Casting Moulds2018-12-07T15:48:31+00:00

Producing Reusable Sand Casting Moulds

At Ubiquitous, they produce high quality, high precision and cost-effective products suited to the needs of their clients. With years of experience, they can produce anything from a one-off prototye, mass production and everything in between in a wide variety of materials. Based in the centre of the UK, they are a committed and dedicated company striving to deliver quality services, and products.

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“All of these upgrades have helped remove the issues for producing sand casting moulds. The dual heads have allowed for stronger materials to be embedded into the print whilst the other nozzle prints the smoother material for an improved surface finish.”

Colleen Pickett, Director of Ubiquitous Engineering Ltd

Ubiquitous Engineering Ltd – Introduction

Ubiquitous Engineering is a newly started CAD/CAM Engineering company, capable of 3D Printing and Laser Cutting/Etching. They also ability to provide a mobile CAD and 3D Printing service.

Using 3D Printing Technology

3D printing has been used for lost casting, however, this method requires the part to be destroyed during the casting process.

Traditional, the sand casting moulds are made by very skilled individuals who hand make them. Unfortunately, this is a dying art and companies are having to get tooling made by expensive CNC machinery. Ubiquitous have looked into 3D printing for a while, but unfortunately, 3D printing had not been a suitable manufacturing method due to print quality and no material has been able to combine the required strength and finish, until they found Raise3D.

Raise3D 3D Printers are machines that are capable of achieving their goal of making reusable sand casting moulds. They currently have been using the Raise3D N2 series 3D printer, which has already been “a very capable 3D printer” in their opinion.

Now that Raise3D have released the Pro2 series, which has the capacity to 3D print with materials of high strength properties, dual extrusion and high-quality finishes. Ubiquitous have recently added a Raise3D Pro2 3D Printer to their workflow. Over the years they have upgraded their N series 3D printers, most of these upgrades now come on the Pro2 series as standard. The four key improvements they see are; the Bondtech head, silicon insulators, automatic selectable heads and magnetic heat bed.

Insole printing exposed circuit slot on Raise3D N2
Insole printing exposed circuit slot on Raise3D N2

Bondtech Head

The old Raise3D machine controlled E-steps with 95 steps per revolution, the new Bondtech motors have 415 steps per revolution, this allows for a much more accurate and smooth extrusion of filament. The Bondtech also drives the filament down with 2, very well engineered, drive cogs that grip the filament rather than crushing it. This type of filament system means printing with flexible materials such as Rubber, Silicon or PVA is a breeze.

Silicon Insulators

The silicon cover now shields the heat blocks from the print. Not only is this much safer, as it now makes directly touching the heat block virtually impossible, it holds in heat with great efficiency meaning the nozzles heat up quicker and less energy is used during the print. There is another advantage to the silicon, during a print, it is not uncommon for a strand of filament to randomly appear on the print and point upwards. Previously, this would have touched the heat block, melted and at some point caused excessive material to be deposited onto the print The silicon shields so well that the piece of filament is simply knocked away which keeps the heads clean and the print accurate (the filament strand usually just rubs off afterwards).

Automatic Selectable Heads

Printing with dual heads has always been difficult, and often takes time and patience to set the machine up so you achieve good results. Even when the machine is properly calibrated and on a dual or single nozzle print, issues could still arise from the heads being at the same height. The new system Raise3D have installed on the Pro2 series seems to have cured this with a simple but very effective solution. When the nozzle is about to engage in a print, it will drop and the other will raise out of the way. This means that only one nozzle is ever close enough to the bed or printed part and therefore eliminating 2nd nozzle knocks, oozing and colour run issues.

Magnetic Bed

The Raise N series featured a bed that was bulldog clipped to the heated plate, which worked perfectly well, unless you forgot to put them on which usually resulted in the print head moving the plate around until something broke. The new magnetic bed is quick and easy to put on and pull off. The bed is centred every time in the same position which is a nice touch. Ubiquitous do often print onto glass and this feature would then be redundant as they would have to go back to bulldog clips.

Solution

All of these upgrades have helped removed the issues for producing sand casting moulds. The dual heads allow for stronger materials to be embedded into the print whilst the other nozzle prints the smoother material for improved surface finish.

Results

7-micron accuracy on 10-micron layer height gives an outstanding finish and shows such great detail. The one thing that starts to happen with such detail is that you can see some issues with the STL conversion (known as low polygon count or triangulation). This is due to software limitation and can be corrected using the appropriate software.

Cost and Time Saved using 3D Printing

  • Each mould saves around £1,000 – £3,500 in costs to produce, compared to outsourcing
  • 1 mould is made every few days with no delay in production or lead times if this was to be completed by external sources.

Raise3D Pro2 3D Printer

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INDUSTRIAL GRADE COMPONENTS
READY FOR SHORT-RUN MANUFACTURING

  • Extraordinarily large build volume with an unmatched layer resolution

  • Advanced Dual Extrusion

  • 7-inch touch screen that provides a visual interface

  • Extruder with filament run-out sensor

  • A build plate system that distributes heat evenly over the whole plate

  • Air filter absorbing over 91% of the particles

View the Raise3D Range

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Implementing a new technology can be a painful experience, slowing down your core business and not returning results immediately.  Let our team take your headaches away, our knowledge of integrating 3D printing into different industries and applications is second to none. We’d love to hear about your project and help you find the right solution.

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