Lately, a few members have been discussing the use of 3D printed parts in use with metal casting techniques to create some stronger, lighter and more durable parts. As all good hackerspace conversations do, we immediately decided to go with the most painful and difficult solution: Metal Casting. Luckily for us the very next day, we got an e-mail that a local group, Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, that they intended on hosting an aluminium greensand casting class. A perfect opportunity to learn some metal casting techniques, even if not totally applicable to what we wanted to ultimately end up casting. Andrew S., and myself both signed up along with a few friends of Hive76.
About 30 minutes into making our own greensand molds, we realized that this was going to be a difficult process, and immediately destroyed several hours of work trying to get a good crisp mold for our first pour.
Several hours into our class, we managed to finally get a good solid mold of a 3D printed TARDIS. We hopped in line and got a pretty good looking cast. Andrew also attempted the TARDIS with some success. He also managed to get some good casts of a wooden puzzle, including one that blew out. However, due to our earlier troubles, we decided to hedge our bets and get one more good pour out of the class before we would start wrapping up. While waiting to pour ours, I was being shown how to work the furnace by Gus, and ended up melting down plenty of scrap and helping others make their pours which was a lot of fun to be working with. The furnace was operating at about 1300 Celsius, and moving around molten metal at that temperature can be quite a thrill. We plan on working with Gus and Darla at Philadelphia Sculpture Gym on some other types of casting techniques, especially as they apply to our 3D printing. We look forward to working with them in the future, and hope you all consider taking their next Greensand class in January.