When my company considered the purchase of the Form 2, I put forth as many justifications for the purchase as I could, including investment casting mold forms. In addition to our prototyping needs for injection molded parts, we have part designs we would like to cast, but are cost prohibitive to try due to up front tooling costs. As such once we were approved for the purchase, I plunged right in and bought the Formlabs Castable resin. I contacted a local investment casting foundry and printed a sample for them to try and burnout. For the test piece, I hollowed the part out, added an internal support structure and thoroughly washed and cured the resin piece. Unfortunately our part failed the melt test anyway…
I am now looking at next steps and am kind of concerned with what I am finding. First is that 99% of literature and forum posts that discuss FL Castable resin are strictly for jewelry. This is fine if investment casting was a technique used to serve only the jewelry industry, but is in fact only a portion of the investment casting market overall.
Second, the foundry is insisting that I use their supplier, which uses a FDM printer using PLA material. Which would be fine if we didn’t buy the printer and castable resin, I need what we have to work.
Lastly, further research into this I find someone else is in the same situation as I: Unsuccessful castable resin results using investment casting The difference here is that I bought the printer, the author of this post did not.
I want to try and continue to modify this design and make use of this resin (adjust wall thicknesses, cure time and the like), but my engineering instinct and findings here indicate that this resin is just not good for big parts and rapid high temp burnouts as is fairly standard in the investment casting industry.
Are there others here in the same situation and have you overcome the hurdle of using the Form 2 for investment casting of parts other then jewelry? Any tips on what foundry to try, what resin to use and design/burnout process would be appreciated!