Printed sand molds are gaining popularity among European foundries, at least as evidenced by the progress of 3Dealise, a new London-based firm that started up in May, offering 3D scanning and measurement, reverse engineering, and rapid prototyping, as well as 3D printing.
“This new technology is important for two reasons,” explained 3Dealise CEO Roland Stapper. “First, the success of manufacturing in highly developed regions depends on the ability to quickly innovate and turn ideas into prototypes and then products. By enabling clients to go directly from a high-quality computer design to a high-quality and high-precision prototype, we can speed up the prototype cycle, which can give manufacturers in this region a real edge.
Stapper then suggested mass production of engineered parts is being displaced by “customized products designed to meet specific needs. 3D printing is particularly well suited to produce customized products because every print can be different,” he said. “Local production is crucial to this concept, because shipping time must be minimized.”
For example, the company is promoting its capability to collectors and restorers of vintage cars and aircraft, offering to recreate engine blocks according to original designs. The service involves 3D scanning of original castings, reverse engineering the block from the scanned data, printing a mold according to the collected data, and producing the casting according to customers’ requirements.
3Dealise prints sand molds on an ExOne S-Max system: With a maximum build area of 1,800x1,000x700 mm, it’s reportedly the largest and fastest 3D printer now available for producing molds in bonded sand material.
According to the new firm’s website, it traces its origins to Sanders Gears Castings Machining, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of cast iron pumps housings, impellers, gear boxes, machine frames, gears, thruster houses, sheaves, and wear-resistant parts.
This week 3Dealise announced it had printed 115,000 liters of sand during the first six months of operation, including large-dimension molds for castings produced without patterns, or metal prototypes, or small-volume production.