Wax Casting

The ancient art of Lost Wax Casting (also known as Investment Casting, Precision Casting, or cire perdue) is thousands of years old, with numerous theories as to which culture can stake a claim regarding its invention. A craft that still retains remnants of its intrinsic mystery in applications like fine jewelry and sculpture, Lost Wax Casting today also requires considerable expertise, and a supply of sophisticated tools and materials.

3D Printing and Lost Wax Casting

Casting with metal is multifaceted, and usually includes numerous, careful steps. At Shapeways, the process is accompanied by modern technology like 3D printing to make wax patterns for building plaster molds. Sprues are added so that metal can flow through, as the initial wax is melted and drained, thus explaining the term lost wax casting.

Once the metal cools and is solidified, the plaster is broken away from the mold. The metal product is detached, and from there, post-processing begins. This may include tumbling to polish the metal piece, or where applicable, it may be plated; for example, metals like Brass can be plated in Gold or Rhodium.

Benefits of 3D printed Wax Casting include:

  • The ability to make professional-looking, innovative products that would be impossible to manufacture using traditional processes.
  • The potential for complex shapes with built-in intricacies like interlocking parts.
  • Superb finishing, with good corrosion resistance in materials like Copper.

Lost Wax Casting Materials

Shapeways customers can choose from a range of metals for 3D printing with Lost Wax Casting, to include:

Brass

This material is made up of a copper alloy containing 15% zinc, 5% tin and 80% copper. Used for products with intricate details, Brass tarnishes but can be polished for a shiny surface with a professional, finished look and feel. This material is available in Gold Plate and Rhodium also. Both Natural and Polished finishes are available.

Brass is suitable for applications like prototypes, jewelry, home accessories, and miniatures.

For this material, 3D models must meet the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm, 75 × 75 × 40 mm for Interlocking Parts

Explore the design guidelines for Brass

Bronze

A copper-tin alloy, 10% tin and 90% copper, Bronze is famous for its deep red color. This metal also presents a marbling effect, with silver highlights that offer a vintage look. Used for products with intricate details, Bronze tarnishes but can be polished for a like-new surface. Both Natural and Polished finishes are available.

Bronze is suitable for applications like jewelry, fashion, home decor, and prototypes.

For this material, 3D models must meet the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm, 75 × 75 × 40 mm for Interlocking Parts

 

Explore further design guidelines for Bronze

Copper

Featuring the well-known red-orange hue which oxidizes over time, copper parts can be 3D printed in Lost Wax Casting with intricate details. The end product offers a professional, finished look and feel which is also corrosion resistant due to the continued oxidation process. Both Natural and Polished finishes are available.

With Lost Wax Casting, Copper is suitable for applications like prototypes, heat accessories, and marine accessories.

For this material, 3D models must meet the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm

Explore further design guidelines for Copper

Gold

A premium metal used primarily for creating fine jewelry, Gold is available in yellow, white, rose, 14K and 18K. This is one of the highest quality materials Shapeways offers, and it is recommended for parts with intricate details and a professional, finished look and feel.

For this material, 3D models must meet the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm

Explore further design guidelines for Gold

Platinum

An extremely high-quality material, popular for making upscale jewelry, Platinum is made up of 95% Platinum and 5% Ruthenium. Used to showcase parts with intricate details, this material offers a professional, finished look and feel.

For this material, 3D models must be within the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm

Explore further design guidelines for Platinum

Silver

A high-quality Sterling Silver alloy, at 92.5% silver, this material is used for jewelry as well as other skin-safe applications. Sterling Silver allows for intricate details to be included in parts, accompanied by a professional, finished look and feel. Silver tarnishes, but can be polished for a shiny surface. This material is also softer and more malleable with thinner structures.

Silver is available in Natural, Polished, Fine Detail Polished, and Antique finishes.

For this material, 3D models must be within the following minimum and maximum bounding box sizes:

  • Bounding Box Min: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
  • Bounding Box Max: 89 × 89 × 100 mm, 75 × 75 × 40 mm for Interlocking Parts

Explore the design guidelines for Silver

Ordering from Shapeways Saves Time & Capital

Enjoy the benefits of Shapeways advanced technology and a wide range of materials for manufacturing your creations with accuracy and intricate detail. Ordering and manufacturing is as easy as uploading one or more designs, requesting instant quotes, and then waiting for parts to be manufactured—whether designated on an average, priority, or rush basis. Read about case studies, find out more about our solutions, and get instant quotes here.

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