If you have an interest in exotic composite materials for 3D printing, then you have likely heard about the work that’s been done by German-born Kai Parthy. He’s the inventor of some of the more interesting composite filaments that are compaitible with FDM/FFF 3D printers. Whether it’s his BENDLAY, LAYFOMM or his popular LayWoo-D3 3D printer filaments, they all offer a wide range of uses, and the ability to print things that don’t particularly appear to be 3D printed at all.
Today, Parthy revealed via a Youtube video, his latest contribution to the 3D printing materials space, MOLDLAY. MOLDLAY is exactly what it sounds like, a 3D printer filament which enables users to print out molds for both lost wax casting and permanent mold casting.
MOLDLAY is a wax-like thermoplastic which can be used to cast a variety materials. It is extremely stable dimensionally, and remains rigid at room temperature. Below are some of the specifications of the new material from Parthy:
- Near zero warping
- Can be printed without a heated bed
- Prints at temperatures of 170 – 180° C
- Molds must be treated at ~ 270°C in an old baking oven
Users of MOLDLAY simply design and print out the item they wish to create via a mold. Once printed with the new filament, the object must then be surrounded by concrete, which is allowed to then harden. Once the concrete is hardened, the block must be placed into an oven at approximately 270° C. This will melt the MOLDLAY within the concrete, as the wax-like substance flows out of the mold like hot paraffin wax. This leaves a near-perfect mold within the concrete block, which can then be filled with molten tin or brass. Once cooled, it’s now time to break the mold and retrieve the object within, which should be a close copy to that which was initially printed with the MOLDLAY filament. The only difference is that it’s metal instead of wax-like. There may be some concrete which remains attached to the metal object. This can be removed by soaking the object in citric acid over night.
The process is rather lengthy, however, it sure beats spending the money and time required to outsource such a task elsewhere. MOLDLAY seems to bring affordable 3D printing a step or two closer to that of mass manufacturing, at least from a productivity standpoint.
A full video of the process can be found below. Let us know if you have had a chance to play around with this new filament in the MOLDAY forum thread on 3DPB.com. For further information on this product you may contact Parthy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.