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Rapid prototyping and tooling techniques: a review of applications for rapid investment casting

  • C.M. Cheah
  • C.K. ChuaEmail author
  • C.W. Lee
  • C. Feng
  • K. Totong
Original Article

Abstract

Investment casting (IC) has benefited numerous industries as an economical means for mass producing quality near net shape metal parts with high geometric complexity and acceptable tolerances. The economic benefits of IC are limited to mass production. The high costs and long lead-time associated with the development of hard tooling for wax pattern moulding renders IC uneconomical for low-volume production. The outstanding manufacturing capabilities of rapid prototyping (RP) and rapid tooling (RT) technologies (RP&T) are exploited to provide cost-effective solutions for low-volume IC runs. RP parts substitute traditional wax patterns for IC or serve as production moulds for wax injection moulding. This paper reviews the application and potential application of state-of-the-art RP&T techniques in IC. The techniques are examined by introducing their concepts, strengths and weaknesses. Related research carried out worldwide by different organisations and academic institutions are discussed.

Keywords

Investment casting Low-volume production Moulding Rapid Prototyping Rapid Tooling 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.M. Cheah
    • 1
  • C.K. Chua
    • 1
    Email author
  • C.W. Lee
    • 1
  • C. Feng
    • 1
  • K. Totong
    • 2
  1. 1.Systems and Engineering Management Division, School of Mechanical and Production EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.Mechanical Engineering DivisionNgee Ann PolytechnicSingapore

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