Rapid Prototyping

To control costs, ensure component integrity, and optimize part functionality, Barron Industries recommends rapid prototyping before going to full production.

Rapid prototyping brings a number of advantages to the investment casting and product design process.

  • Significantly reduces product time to market
  • Tests fit, form, and function (F3) more effectively
  • Reduces design iterations
  • Identifies and minimizes or eliminates product design flaws early in the product design process
  • Tests investment casting parts in production metals prior to the expense of a tool
  • Creates production-quality sample parts or conceptual components economically for engineering or product development

Rapid prototype pattern made in hours to days

Integrating rapid prototyping into the product design and development process allows for design integrity evaluation of a precision investment cast part before going into full production and helps avoid complications resulting from incomplete or inadequate pre-production analysis of fit, form, and function. The process also prevents budget overruns. Experienced engineers recognize that inexpensive rapid prototyping is an opportunity to uncover component design flaws or make improvements prior to initiating the investment casting process. This preliminary step in the metal casting process ensures that the final production of the cast component will meet required specifications.

Rapid prototype pattern cast in metalShort Lead Times

Along with the potential for overall savings, rapid prototyping allows for shorter lead times. Bypassing the need for and time to make an aluminum tool cuts 2-8 weeks from typical investment casting lead time. In addition sales and marketing teams can use rapid prototype parts to bypass the expense of full production and showcase specific models of proposed parts. Rapid prototypes make functional quality parts and assembled components that demonstrate the capabilities of a product.

Thanks to rapid prototyping, Barron has provided customers with complete machined and painted investment castings for their most time-sensitive programs and projects in as little as two weeks.

Barron Industries’ state-of-the-art, ProJet, rapid prototyping pattern printing machine, unified processes, and in-house expertise ensure that every proposed precision investment casting meets the highest quality standards and dimensional expectations.

The Barron Industries Rapid Prototyping Process

Rapid prototype pattern and metal cast

The Barron Industries’ rapid prototyping process uses layered modeling techniques to create a precise model or pattern of the proposed investment-casting component in resin or wax. Models or patterns are completed in as little as a few days. The model can then be used as-is or cast to desired specifications in a wide variety of alloys without the exepnse of additional tooling. With our Plex® manufacturing and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which eliminates errors and speeds up the rapid prototyping process, our expert engineers monitor the process and make informed decisions based on real-time data using four efficient and uncomplicated steps.

  1. Convert the math data or three-dimensional model (3D) into a solid model file and run solidification modeling.
  2. Build and cure the rapid prototype pattern, via a 3D printer (Projet) or Stereolithography (SLA) technology.
  3. Inspect the rapid prototype pattern to ensure it meets both surface finish and dimensional specifications.
  4. Manufacture and deliver the functional investment casting rapid prototype for validation.

This process assures the accuracy of every production casting.

We produce rapid prototype patterns using liquid resin or wax with advanced 3D printing equipment. Our advanced rapid prototyping pattern machines provide distinctive advantages to our customers and both rapid prototyping processes have the capability to produce in a matter of hours high quality and complex precision casting patterns that require no tooling.

  • Our Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) 3D printing machine produces rapid prototype patterns developed in UV-sensitive epoxy. These patterns, also called QuickCast™ rapid prototype patterns, are excellent rapid prototype choices for fit, form and some functional testing. SLA patterns are recommended for larger parts and when surface finish is more critical.
  • Our Projet rapid prototype 3D printing pattern-making machine outputs rapid prototypes using wax. These Projet rapid prototype wax patterns create parts strong enough for concept model verification (form). Thermojet wax patterns are recommended when the proposed part is small and the surface finish is not critical.

Rapid prototyping takes virtual designs from computer-aided design (CAD) or animated modeling software and transforms them into functional investment casting patterns used in the metal casting process. A precise pattern is required since the quality of the pattern directly affects the successful production a of well-manufactured part. Because a computer program transforms the mathematical data directly into a prototype part, no tooling is involved. Simple or complex precision investment casting patterns can be made quickly with 3D rapid prototyping models. The models can then be tooled for production incorporating any design changes resulting from prototype testing. Barron Industries expertly covers every step of this critical process.

The Barron Industries’ rapid prototyping process typically produces patterns or models within a few hours or days, followed by precision investment castings within a few weeks. Rapid prototype investment castings often require little or no additional finishing as compared to sand and other less precise methods of casting, which can take several weeks and require expensive tooling. Our precision investment casting customers can use the finished rapid prototype pattern for design verification and as a tooling aide. They can use the finished casting to analyze   form, fit and function. And rapid prototype castings make excellent components on their own or as complete assemblies for engineering evaluation and testing purposes.

View recent rapid prototyping projects.

Quality First

Barron Industries’ experts utilize SOLIDCast® solidification modeling software to add operational intelligence throughout the manufacturing process. Continuous evaluation of tree and gating design, pouring and mold temperature, and part position ensure a high quality casting is produced the first time and every time — eliminating shrinkage or porosity in the casting. Rapid prototyping technicians have real-time access to detailed instructions and technical information at every point in the process to assure quality, create accountability, enhance continuous improvement, and provide transparency.

The quality of Barron Industries’ products and processes is further assured by our recent AS 9100:2009 (aerospace standard) quality certification. We also possess TS 16949:2009 and ISO 9001:2008 quality certifications. See our certifications.

Our customers’ investment cast parts are monitored for quality every step of the way—from concept to completion to delivery to your engineering or manufacturing facility.

More Than Rapid Prototyping

Barron Industries is able to provide concept-to-completion development of precision investment casting components. In addition to rapid prototyping, we offer customers comprehensive investment casting services that result in reduced lead times, enhanced accountability, minimized retooling and lower project costs.

In addition to rapid prototyping, we invite you to take advantage of our full range of value-added services.

Our highly skilled teams are ready to deliver quality precision investment cast components in a timely, cost-efficient manner. Rapid prototyping is one critical part of that process.

To see how our rapid prototyping process can save time and money, contact us for more information or to request a quote.

“For many buyers in our facility, if they have a casting that requires machining, it's easier to deal with just Barron than both a casting supplier and machining facility,”

- Eric Seidenberger, casting buyer for defense contractor General Dynamics

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