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3D printing, married to traditional metal casting,it is opportunity for mold parts supplier
Autodesk has partnered with a Michigan foundry in a 3D printing proof-of-concept project that resulted in a new magnesium commercial airline seat frame so light it could save an airline more than $200 million in fuel costs.
Autodesk used its Netfabb 3D design software to produce a complex geometric model for a new aircraft passenger seat frame just as strong as a traditional seat, but vastly lighter.
The CAD program created a file used to 3D print in plastic the seat frame, which was then coated in ceramic material and heated to a high temperature to evaporate the inner plastic.
Autodesk researcher Andreas Bastian displays how lightweight the new seat frame is.
The remaining ceramic mold was then used by Aristo Cast, a Michigan foundry, to manufacture a magnesium seat frame that weighs 766 grams, 56% lighter than the conventional 1,672-gram aluminum seats in use today.
While laser sintering, another 3D printing method, offers the ability to create objects with dozens of metals, it is slow compared to metal casting, which can use thousands of metals or composite materials.
Additionally, 3D printing is limited to the relatively small size of a print beds - only a few feet in size -- even in commercial machines. Traditional metal casting has nearly limitless production scalability.
With the resulting ceramic mold, Aristo Cast confirmed it could make up to 160 of the magnesium airplane seats every two days.
The magnesium seat frame created using a CAD program, a 3D printer and traditional metal casting techniques. On the right is the intricate latticework that resulted in a vastly lighter, yet strong seat frame.
Today, using binder jet printing, prototype molds can be used to produce hundreds of molds on a single machine in about a week.
It is an oppotunity for Chiko Precision Mold Parts due to growing requirements on all kinds of molds, at the same time, we will gain more orders on precision mold aprts and mold compoents.