The challenge was to reproduce an approximately 60 year old cast aluminium sump and mating cover but there was a catch – It not only had to be the same, but better! This is not your average car though it’s a 1956 Maserati A6G Allemano and there’s only two in Australia.
So, supply new castings that visually replicate the originals while producing a dimensionally accurate part with the superior quality and integrity of a modern casting.
The original castings had several issues. These issues ranged from porosity to miss-run/cold folds (in the thin cooling fins) which contributed heavily to the overall appearance of the castings.
With the use of 3d laser scanning we were able to capture with high accuracy all the physical imperfections on the original parts. Using this scan data we then generated complete 3d models of each part.
Our intention now was to utilise the benefits of 3D Printing. This process included several stages.
Firstly after consulting with a group of foundry men with years of experience in supplying bespoke aluminium castings, we added a runner and feeding system (with the aim of producing mechanically, the best quality castings possible) to the recently generated 3d models of the parts.
Secondly, we designed the sand mold and core set required for the foundry casting process and lastly the sand molds and core were 3D printed in a Voxeljet sand printing machine and delivered to the foundry for preparation, assembly and pouring.
Once at the foundry, the highly skilled tradesmen then prepared the mould surfaces with several “old school” techniques to assist in replicating the visual aspects of the original parts while at the same time not compromising the quality of the new castings. After the mold sets were assembled, they were poured with a high quality AA601 Aluminium which produced a far superior casting to the originals.
After the casting cooled and was sand blasted, a full inspection found the parts to be dimensionally accurate to the originals. They were also found to be completely free of all issues mechanically evident in the originals. Most importantly, the visual characteristics were on par with the original castings, something which would prove near on impossible to replicate in a traditional manufacturing process.
With the use of our scanning technology and utilising the latest in additive manufacturing the project was completed in around 40% of the time required by traditional casting techniques. In addition to production time reductions, without the need for costly foundry tooling the overall project budget was close to 50% of the more traditional alternative.
On delivery of the new sump and cover the customer was suitably impressed with the time frame for supply in comparison to his alternative options and was blown away with the results both visually & mechanically.