When it comes to material processing, no existing technology can claim being older than sand casting. First attempts at this process happened around 3000 years ago, and up until the last several years, it remained close to how it was always done. Now, 3D technology is aiming to change that. Pattern makers can create the castings now much quicker than in the past. What used to be measured in weeks and months, now is cut down to a day or two. Additionally, the technology has increased the precision and repeatability of the castings, which resulted in higher part quality.
- When a patterned item is placed in an open metal box and subject to a grade of sand that will capture the pattern, this is casting, a process begun about three millenia ago.
- However, in 1993, MIT scientists developed a process that would ultimately entirely reinvent the casting process for the first time in centuries.
- The process, called binder jet, was a cold-hardening binding process which combines precisely measured sand with a liquid polymer.
“A special type of sand is poured around the pattern, which is pounded firmly into place and then removed.”