Trident Alloys, a Springfield foundry, has acquired a 3D printer that prints in sand, creating the sand molds Trident uses to cast parts in steel and stainless steel.

A partnership between Trident, Palmer Manufacturing of Ohio, which makes foundry equipment and software, and robotics creator Viridis3D of Woburn, the printer is the first sand-mold printing robot in the U.S.

Palmer Manufacturing and Viridis3D are beta testing the technology used in the 3D printing robot here in Springfield with Trident. Viridis3D planning to bring foundry executives from around the country to Springfield to check out the technology.

The robot sand mold printer deposits a layer of sand a single grain thick on each pass. Some of the sand remains light in color. But in some spots, it adds an “ink,”  a chemical that hardens the sand into a solid. The printer builds up the mold at about an inch and a half per hour.

The dark areas become the mold and the light sand is negative space that gets bushed away, leaving a dark-colored mold that is actually a negative of the part being manufactured. When the mold is used, the metal will fill the space where the light colored sand was.

The advantage of this technology is that it can help Trident go from a computer drawing to a cast piece of metal in two weeks versus eight weeks in the old system.

Trident's robotic sand mold 3D printer
Trident’s robotic sand mold 3D printer

>Read more by Jim Kinney, MassLive.com, May 28, 2016

 

First-of-its kind robot building sand molds for metal casting