Lost PLA Metal Casting Process

by 3DTOPO, published

Lost PLA Metal Casting Process by 3DTOPO Apr 30, 2013


Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag


Thing Statistics

14511Views 496Downloads Found in DIY


This is a complete documentary of the process I use to transform a 3D printed PLA part to a machine ready aluminum alloy casting: http://youtu.be/WWVVSZP3Au4
Short version: http://youtu.be/0bxOzCgUj_U

The furnace used for this documentary is here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:55415

WARNING: This is for informational purposes only. Fire, molten metal and high temperatures are potentially extremely dangerous. 3DTOPO Inc. accepts no responsibility for damage and/or injury of any kind caused by the use, incompleteness or inaccuracy of the information provided in the videos linked herein.

More from DIY

view more

All Apps

Auto-magically prepare your 3D models for 3D printing. A cloud based 3D models Preparing and Healing solution for 3D Printing, MakePrintable provides features for model repairing, wall thickness...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

With 3D Slash, you can edit 3d models like a stonecutter. A unique interface: as fun as a building game! The perfect tool for non-designers and children to create in 3D.

App Info Launch App

Quickly Scale, Mirror or Cut your 3D Models

App Info Launch App

Hey there! Very informative video. Clear and concise. Pls could you comment on any differences you might anticipate with a change to casting bronze instead of aluminium in this process? Thanks.

Warning, reading about this thing, and especially watching the video may cause day dreaming and in extreme cases insomnia . Please see a blacksmith or foundry worker for treatment if you are exposed.

So if I take my mold to local forge and have them safely pour. and I have a drill press, a band saw, grinding/wire wheel combo and a file. (and some basic high school shop classes) could I have made and cleaned up the part in your video? or is the cleanup process crazy-hard?

There is only one foundry for a couple hundred miles. Return phone calls and emails are optional. I have no idea what they are going to charge, but I guess I'll just have to show up one day with a completed mold. And play a drum until someone will pour some metal for me..... my backup-backup plan involves a farrier.

Sure aluminum is very workable so you can clean it up anyway you like - even give it a mirror polish. For my purposes, however, no cleaning was needed.

Very cool :) What did you use to cut off the gates?

Thanks! Think I used a bandsaw.

so you need to scale up 300% from the true dimensions?

Scale up 3%

Why put the plaster in sand once you burned out the plastic? Seems like a rather useless step.

It was so (1) the molten aluminum could develop more hydrostatic pressure and (2) allow for a more massive riser. Risers are important reservoirs of molten aluminum that stays molten hopefully long enough to feed the cast as it shrinks as it solidifies. The more massive the riser, the more likely it will be able to feed the cast as it solidifies.

Mm, yeah. I see now didn't mold the entirety of the foam riser you glued onto the piece. Makes sense to build it up, then. Nice work!

Is it possible to go through this process with ABS printed objects?

I haven't done ABS but in theory it should work. There is a possibility that it may not burn out as cleanly as PLA but certainly worth a try!

Not sure about PLA, but ABS creates very nasty fumes when burnt. Even when molten in a 3D printer. Use your printer in a well ventilated area when printing with ABS.
Btw 3DTOPO, you make casting seems very easy! Very good learnings! Thanks!

Great Video, I learnt something, especially on the safety side. Kudos!

Awesome, glad to hear it!

Very nice videos!
Thanks for sharing

Thank you and thanks for watching!

Thank you and thanks for watching!

Thank you and thanks for watching!

Nice informative videos. Love your robot dance at the end!

Hhahaha! Thanks EricYoung, glad you enjoyed!