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Voxeljet sand 3D printer

The CSIRO Voxeljet VX1000 is capable of printing a variety of sand and binder systems to produce moulds for foundry castings, but also art and architectural displays.  It is a powder bed type additive manufacturing machine with multi-jet liquid binder print head. The machine has a large volume job box measuring 1060 x 600 x 500 mm, which enables large singular pieces, or large numbers of smaller pieces, to be produced.  This machine is presently the only one in Australia.

Man using the Voxelject VX1000. Its a large box like device with clear screen to see printing as it occurs
Voxelject VX1000 (Image courtesy of Voxeljet AG)

What is 3D sand printing?

3D sand printing is an additive manufacturing (AM) process for the production of foundry sand moulds. The machine can produce castings up to 1 meter long, providing a capability matched to the needs of the Australian foundry industry. It eliminates the need for any tooling, but is compatible with conventional non-proprietary sands and all the common binders used by foundries. The geometric freedom offered by AM enables the production of moulds that provide cast components with total freedom of geometry (e.g. undercuts, negative drafts) and high dimensional tolerances.

Sand cores with complex geometries and castings made from complex cores
Sand cores with complex geometries and castings made from complex cores (Image courtesy of Voxeljet AG)
Sand cores with complex geometries and castings made from complex cores
Sand cores with complex geometries and castings made from complex cores (Image courtesy of Voxeljet AG)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why 3D sand printing?

The Australian foundry industry is well established and employs thousands, but has seen a 40% decline in output over the past 30 years. To sustain their businesses, and potentially see them grow, it is becoming more important for Australian foundries to differentiate themselves from overseas competitors. One way of doing this is to take on complex castings and to be agile and flexible in changing between products, often with small quantity runs.  Another strategy is to produce technology intensive castings. CSIRO’s acquisition of the Voxeljet VX1000 3D sand printer will provide the Australian foundry industry with an opportunity to develop and sell castings that conventional moulding and rapid prototyping methods cannot achieve.  This outcome will be driven by two factors. The first is production of components possessing total freedom in shape. Second is the opportunity to produce castings of the highest quality in the specified alloy in one-off or small quantities without the need to manufacture any patterns or tooling. An attraction of the Voxeljet is that it is compatible with current conventional casting and moulding methods, using a variety of sands and binders, and can directly substitute, completely or partially, existing or new sand moulds. Please contact us if you wish to explore opportunities.

A schematic of the process: 1. Transfer of CAD data 2. Application of particulate material 3. Selectively add chemical binding agent 4. lowering of the build platform 5. Stepts 2-4 repeated 6. Removal of unbound material 7. Finished part
A schematic of the process (Image courtesy of Voxeljet AG)

The CSIRO Voxeljet VX1000 is capable of printing sand moulds suitable for foundry castings. Starting with the 3D CAD geometry of the part to be cast, a sand mould can be printed within days without the need for costly and time consuming patterns, as was recently demonstrated for Albins Performance Transmissions and Thales. Follow the link below for more on this.

Case study – Voxeljet Rapid Prototyping