Article excerpt from the June 2019 issue of Modern Machine Shop by Timothy Simpson
According to the American Foundry Society, metal castings can be found in 90% of all durable goods, and you are seldom more than 10 feet away from a casting. I didn't believe it at first, but if nearly every car, truck, train, tractor or construction vehicle has a casting in it, not to mention all the castings found in our infrastructure (buildings, pipelines, etc.), then you understand why that number is so high.
So, how is additive manufacturing (AM), one of the newest manufacturing methods, disrupting metal casting, the oldest manufacturing method? It is pretty simple actually, and it goes along the lines of what we have been discussing recently, namely, hybrid manufacturing approaches in which AM is being used to create the fixtures, jigs, and/or tools (in this case, sand molds and cores) that are then used to manufacture parts by conventional means (in this case, metal casting). In fact, 3D sand printing is probably one of the easiest and least risk ways of integrating AM into production. We know how casting works; all we are doing is finding a faster and cheaper way to make the molds for them, and then we cast and finish components like we have been doing for hundreds of years.