Investment Casting

One of the oldest known traditional manufacturing processes, investment casting starts with a pattern that has the same shape as the desired part. The pattern is coated with ceramic to create a hard shell, and then the pattern is melted or burned away, leaving a hollow mold that the desired material, usually metal of some kind, is poured into. The shell is then destroyed to retrieve the cast part. Traditionally the pattern is made from wax. In additive manufacturing, the pattern is created using almost any of the common processes, as long as the build material can be removed from the shell. The most common are FDM/FFF machines that extrude wax and stereolithography machines that use a photopolymer that can be burned out.

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