Apple’s CAD-3DPrint-Production Process

April 11, 2016
Apple earned a U.S. patent for a 3D printing process it would use to form investment-casting molds, in order to form parts from amorphous alloys to produce handset devices.

Additive manufacturing would be used to form molds to be used for amorphous alloys, or “bulk metallic glass”

In March, Apple Inc. was granted a patent for a 3D printing process to be used to form investment-casting molds, which would be used to form parts from amorphous alloys. The two-layer mold would be used for a hollow casting process, solidifying molten metal in the cavity between the two layers.

The abstract for U.S. Patent No. 20160067766A1 reads:
“Described herein is a method of forming a 3D investment mold using a layer-by-layer construction (3D printing). The mold is configured for receipt of a molten alloy having a composition configured to form a bulk metallic glass (BMG) on cooling. The mold has a hollow interior between inner and outer walls. The hollow interior receives the molten alloy for molding it between the inner and outer walls of the mold. A method of casting using the 3D investment mold is also disclosed, which may include filling the mold with molten alloy, removing bubbles, quenching the molten alloy in the mold, and then removing the mold.”

Read FM&T’s report on the patent and its meaning for investment casting.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)