Electroforming enables metallic parts manufacturing with good mechanical properties and high level of accuracy and reproducibility. A thin metallic shell is deposited on a model and later released from it. There are several applications of electroforming combined with rapid prototyping: injection moulds, EDM electrodes, moulds for rotational moulding, complex metallic parts, etc. However the two main disadvantages of electroforming are the non uniform thicknesses distribution and high time of shell manufacturing. The paper focuses on a new development in order to achieve uniform thickness and otherwise a faster shell manufacturing. A new device and software have been developed, named Elecform3D™. The device is an automatic machine controlled by computer and assembled into the electroforming equipment. Otherwise the software not only controls the device but also simulates and calculates the optimal positions of the cathode based in the electrolytic parameters of the bath. The software recommends an automatic program of movements or allows the operator to decide another alternatives programs if necessary. Elecform 3D is an important step beyond electroforming so far. RP 3D printer combined with Elecform 3D is a cheaper alternative for high quality metallic parts manufacturing in comparison with SLS-SLM technologies or high speed machining, mainly for rapid tooling and even rapid manufacturing.
New Development in Computer Aided Electroforming for Rapid Prototyping Applications
Monzo´n, M, Herna´ndez, PM, Marrero, MD, Beni´tez, AN, Ortega, F, & Socas, A. "New Development in Computer Aided Electroforming for Rapid Prototyping Applications." Proceedings of the ASME 2008 9th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis. Volume 1: Advanced Energy Systems; Advanced and Digital Manufacturing; Advanced Materials; Aerospace. Haifa, Israel. July 7–9, 2008. pp. 179-184. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ESDA2008-59112
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