With the expansion of die-casting technology to multiple industries and the introduction of alloys, as the process was used for the first time in the rapidly growing type of production in the printing field, more strategies and technologies have also been developed. Although the high-pressure casting process is the most commonly used technology today, other methods are often used in die-casting prototyping.
Single cavity prototype mold
If you plan to conduct extensive testing, then from the prototyping strategies currently in use (except for actual die casting), this may be your ideal choice. The main advantage of a single cavity prototype mold is that it allows you to thoroughly evaluate the important characteristics of the final product, including the finish of the exposed surface of the final product.
Since about 75% of production molds require minor or major changes, another advantage of this process is that after the first round of part manufacturing, certain design modifications can be made, thus avoiding more expensive changes .
The actual mold inserts can usually also be used in the final production stage. Through this process, compared with other prototyping strategies, it usually takes less time to produce the final mold and auxiliary trimming tools.
Due to the cost involved and the time it sometimes takes to manufacture the mold, it may not be suitable if you do not have enough delivery time or there is uncertainty in the product design.
This is the most popular choice for manufacturing die-cast prototypes because of its lower cost compared to the strategies described above for low-volume products. Compared with the above process, it does not require much delivery time. It includes most plaster molding and investment casting strategies.
Although it may be cheaper, gravity casting has some disadvantages, which must be considered when deciding which prototyping strategy to use. For example, because gravity castings usually have a smaller porosity, their fatigue strength is usually superior to castings.
Die casting can produce output with precise dimensions, but when the above process is used, more machining will be required to achieve precise and thorough dimensions. Even though the gravity casting process can produce walls with larger widths, it cannot achieve the extremely thin wall widths that can be produced only by die casting.
Plaster mold prototype
Plaster mold prototyping, also known as rubber plastic mold (RPM) casting process, is a gravity-based method that can be used with magnesium, zinc, ZA, and aluminum alloys. Using stereo lithography models, product prototypes can be completed within a few weeks. It allows you to make any desired changes to the geometry of the part simply and quickly. The cost of RPM is usually about ten percent of the cost of manufacturing molds, so RPM may be more economical compared to other die-casting prototyping strategies.
Even though a plaster mold prototype can produce components in multiple sizes, it is usually best if your components fall within the range of 2-24 cubic inches. RPM can produce some or as many as thousands of working prototypes. If the quantity you need is not enough to justify the cost of the hard mold, then it is a suitable method for prototyping die-cast parts.
It can also replicate any castable geometry. Although this is one of the obvious benefits of RPM, it can cause problems because it makes designers use geometric shapes incorrectly, which can significantly increase costs or create metal shapes that ultimately cannot be die cast.
Rapid prototyping (RP)
Rapid prototyping is often associated with various methods, including stereolithography, fused deposition modeling (FDM) and laser sintering. Depending on the geometry of the prototype, prototyping a die-cast part using one of these processes usually only takes 5 to 8 weeks to produce the initial output. These strategies are used in conjunction with stereo lithography models to make H-13 steel molds using pressure rather than gravity casting.
Because the alloys used in the rapid prototyping process and the thermal and physical properties are similar to those used in the production process, RP allows you to perform accurate and thorough product analysis without even investing in the manufacture of complex and expensive die-casting molds. For the same reason, if you need to make up to thousands of units when making a mold, this is usually your best choice.
This process is generally not suitable for work involving high standing and/or small parts on parts. It is not the best choice for projects that require casting water pipelines.
Processing from similar castings
This process involves making prototypes from castings that are similar in shape and size to the casting you are producing. If you need prototypes of many small parts, you can use this strategy to machine outside the heavier areas of large castings.
It is suitable for manufacturing gears and threaded parts, etc. If you need a large number of prototype products and can use automatic processes and required materials to produce, processing similar to castings is also a good choice.
Sheet metal processing or forging processing
This strategy of die-casting prototypes involves working with plates or forging when you need to use plates or prototypes obtained from magnesium and aluminum. Compared with die-casting, plates and forging materials have better ductility and poorer compressive yield strength. The directionality of these materials may be caused by the direction of the extracted alloy or sheet, which is undesirable.
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