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Materials Selection and Their Characteristics as Used in Rapid PrototypingNASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) conducted a program to evaluate six technologies used in Rapid Prototyping (RP) to produce investment casting patterns. In this paper, RP refers to the collective additive fabrication technologies known as Solid Free-Form Fabrication. Such technologies are being used with increasing frequency in manufacturing applications, due in part to their rapidly expanding capabilities to fabricate models from many types of materials. This study used ABS plastic, polycarbonate, TrueForm PM6, epoxy resin, paper, starch, and wax. The baseline model was a semi-complex prototype fuel pump housing, intended for use in the X-33 reusable launch vehicle. All models were shelled in a production- grade colloidal silica ceramic. Primary coats were zircon-base flour with zircon backup, while secondary coats were silica grains with a tabular alumina backup. Each model was shelled in an identical manner, using the same atmospheric conditions and drying times, as well as the same number of layers. Bake-outs and firing cycles were consistent with the leach ability of each material. Preheat and bath temperatures were also kept consistent. All molds were cast in vacuum using a hydrogen-resistant superalloy (NASA- 23) that was developed in-house. The final technical evaluation included detailed measurements of the model and the final casting, in order to determine any dimensional changes caused by different pattern materials, as well as documentation of all defects and any obvious refractory/model reactions. Prototype production costs were estimated for each method and taken into consideration during trade-off analysis.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cooper, K.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Salvail, P.
(IIT Research Inst. Huntsville, AL United States)
Vesely, E.
(IIT Research Inst. Huntsville, AL United States)
Wells, D.
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Subject Category
Chemistry And Materials (General)
Meeting Information
Meeting: Investment Casting Institute Technology meeting
Location: San Francisco, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: October 31, 1999
End Date: November 3, 1999
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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