There have been many attempts at casting using conventional 3D printers, but now filament-wizard Kai Parthy has developed a an easy-to-use solution: MOLDLAY.
Parthy is well-known as the inventor of several speciality filaments, some of which have been imitated by other manufacturers. Now Parthy has developed 3D printer filament specifically for casting.
MILDLY casting is accomplished with the traditional lost-wax method, shown in the video above. Essentially a print made using MOLDLAY is embedded in concrete. MOLDLAY is designed to become completely liquid at +270C, whereupon it flows out of the concrete, leaving a perfectly shaped mold, suitable for casting. The video demonstrates casting tin in a concrete mold formed from MOLDLAY.
You might think this is straightforward, but such a filament must be very carefully designed. For example, it must not deform at lower temperatures so as to retain the intended printed shape - and MOLDLAY is “stiff, rigid at room temperature”.
It is possible to perform this process with PLA, but it requires a higher-temperature oven to literally burn away the PLA. MOLDLAY does not require such high temperatures, as the material simply becomes liquid and easily pours away - without producing any nasty toxic fumes. This means you may have to design your 3D model to permit easy outflows when melted, but otherwise you’ll be able to use MOLDLAY in your kitchen oven.
Molds built from concrete would be able to cast metals, for which you may require higher-temperature equipment. However, the molds can also be used for lower-temperature materials, so long as they are pourable.
According to Parthy, the new filament will be available from dealers in “early February” in 0.250 loose coils, 750g and 2.2Kg spools. If you’re interested in becoming a reseller of MOLDLAY, you’d best contact Parthy directly here.