1. Introducing 3D printed casting to traditional artisans

3D printing has seen applications at places where you would least expect it.

We at STPL 3D printing were introduced to local artisans who wanted the pinnacle of a temple, known as a kalash designed in a specific way, for which they had photographs which were provided to us.

After understanding how 3D printing works, they placed an order with us for 3D printing the kalash pattern for them as they wanted to then proceed to get the kalash casted in brass.

With the image and dimensions given, our dedicated team here at STPL 3D printing got down to work. Firstly, we divided the entire kalash into segments for easier planning, designing and printing of the entire object. Then, each segment was individually designed, ensuring accuracy and convenience in the designing process. The product was then assembled virtually and compared with the image provided to ensure that the final object was as per customer requirement.

Then came the actual printing part. The approved designs of the segments were sent to our 3D printers who printed the segments in a matter of just 3 days. If these local artisans wouldn’t have contacted us, the whole process to make the pattern for the kalash would have taken weeks, if not months. This is not only due to the fact that traditionally wood or ceramic is used for the pattern, but also because the dimensions were large ( 1975mm height and 302.92mm width to be exact) and the Kalash needed minute detailing, which would have taken additional time with the traditional processes.

The segments were printed in eco-friendly PLA (PolyLactic Acid) plastic, which is made from corn starch and is a high-performance composite material which can withstand the high temperatures of molten metal.

The artisans who probably did not even know about 3D printing prior to meeting us, were in awe with the speed in which the work was completed- in a matter of a maximum 10 days as against weeks or months required earlier.

This is only one instance where STPL 3D Printing has started to spread awareness about the benefits of 3D printing in industrial uses.

STPL 3D printing aims to do many such projects to popularise 3D printing amongst traditional industries/ artisans to show them that they can use the latest technologies at an affordable price.

2. How 3D printing helped a man fulfil his wish for making a life-sized lion status

We were approached by a local brass manufacturer who wanted to sand cast a 5-foot tall lion statue from a one-foot sample that he provided us which he wanted to use for religious purposes. He came to us with a lot of hope, knowing well that if done with conventional methods, the entire 5-foot lion would take 4-5 months to prepare. We at STPL-VURO took this challenge head on and explained the entire process of 3D printing that we were going to use to make his dream a reality.

To start with, we did a thorough 3D scan of the one-foot lion sample that was provided to us. This gave us a virtual model of the object to be 3D printed for sand casting. With the help of our state- of-the-art 3D printing software, we then increased the dimensions of the lion as per the requirements of the customer. We then proceeded to 3D printing the entire 5-foot lion statue.

 
 

3D printing this mammoth 5-foot lion meant that we needed to divide the entire surface area of the lion into 127 different parts which were individually printed in our 3D printing machines using Fused Deposition Moulding(FDM) technology.

This entire process from 3D scanning the sample lion to 3D printing the various parts of the desired casting object and eventually assembling it all together, took a mere two weeks to implement. This is a far cry from the conventional methods used which take months to do the same and cost a bomb.

From our experience here at STPL-Vuro, we have realised that there isn’t much awareness about 3D printing in the market, even amongst machine tool manufacturers and metal statue makers like the one stated above. We aim to change this, to help small business owners save considerable time and effort in their sand casting businesses and use 3D printing whenever applicable to gain a competitive edge in the market.

 
 

3. Sand Casting Engineering Pattern

A local engineering foundry needed to make a casting pattern for a machine part within a tight deadline. They had the following criterion-

• The surface finish of the pattern should be good.

• Draft angles should be accurate.

• Dimensions should be accurate.

• The casting pattern should be strong enough to handle high temperatures and pressure.

What was provided- We were provided a sample pattern which was used previously along with a drawing with the same.

How we delivered this- When we received the sand casting pattern mould sample, the first thing that we did was to make a virtual 3D model of it. We ensured that all the minute details and contours of the casting pattern were represented correctly and accurately on the 3D virtual model that we had made. The customer also wanted us to incorporate 4 holes at the corners of the casting pattern for easy fitting, which we did so using the virtual model itself.

Once this virtual model was approved, we 3D printed it at our premises within a short span of 2 days from the time that we got the sample to the time the casting pattern was ready. If the engineering foundry owner had gone through the conventional route to make the moulds, it would have taken him at least a week to get the casting patterns ready.

With 3D printing from STPL-VURO, we managed to do the entire pattern casting mould in a fraction of time and cost as against conventional methods. In the case this PLA (Polylactic Acid) Polymer pattern gets damaged or develops cracks it can be easily repaired or modified as and when needed. The PLA Polymer used is capable to withstanding high temperatures and pressures for sand casting use just as conventional alloy metal pattern casting moulds do.

Just as this case, there are many such ways in which STPL-VURO has helped local industries, artists and workshops to use 3D printing technology to better their production processes.