We can build accurate tools that are sufficiently robust for short production runs within 1 to 2 days.
Stereolithography (SLA) provides the dimensional accuracy and surface finish required for the majority of production investment castings. Using SLA we can produce a mostly hollow style pattern with an internal honeycomb structure called “QuickCast™” (a registered trademark of 3D Systems) that can be used in place of a wax pattern.
This hollow build style allows the pattern to collapse inward during the autoclave and shell burnout phases of the casting process, preventing expansion forces from cracking the shell. The mostly hollow build style also reduces the amount of material that you need to burn out.
How much will building manufacturing tools cost?
The cost to build a tool is generally determined by the size of the tool, not its complexity. As an example, an iPhone sized tool would cost around £30, whereas an iPad-sized tool would be £240.