rapid tooling

From: Mr C.C. Ainsley (ainsley@liverpool.ac.uk)
Date: Fri May 17 1996 - 10:36:03 EEST

Hi Rper
        This is a posting in order to get your opinion on my current research
,under taken as part of my PhD project.
I would appreciate any constructive criticism (Warning fragile ego) that you have
about my work.

The Project is looking at the slip casting of Stainless steel powders in order to form
injection moulding tools. Basically slip casting is the suspension of a powder in a
solution, which is then cast into a plaster mould. The solution is the drawn off leaving
a green powder part in the shape of the mould.
The green part is then fired and infiltrated in order to give a fully dense part .
         I am looking to achieve accuracys of at least 50 microns on a inch and a
superior surface finish to that of investments casting. Preliminary results give me hope
that this is achievable but I have not done that much work on Infiltration as I hope to
be using Aluminium as the infiltration material which is not as straight forward as
infiltration using Copper.

The main advantages that I see using this method are that, Plaster is a good medium
for forming the original mould from e.g. It can be cast , machined and carved and is
extremely cheap.
The method can be used to form composite tools such as a tool with a Silicon carbide
surface and a Stainless steel body.
The process is very cheap and quick and doesn't require skilled labour.
It does offer the possibility of forming other tools such as EDM electrode Vacuum
forming tools and even press and punch tools.

Well I have tried to keep it as short as possible but if you there is anything that you
do not understand or that is unclear. I will be happy to explain it.


C Ainsley
researcher at Liverpool University
EMail ainsley@liverpool.ac.uk
Phone 0151 794 4914

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