IMG 3276The 3D printable wax filament arrived. Shipped from MachinableWax.com in Traverse City, Michigan to UPS depot in McKinney, Texas in two days. There it got checked in twice (two stickers on box) and kicked around for another two days before home delivery. But UPS efficiency is another story.

The package was not double boxed. No problem. Just an observation. The box felt quite warm, above 100F when it reached my porch at 7:30 PM. That’s above body temperature. I had some concern about shipping wax filament in the summer. The picture shows a temperature reading (94F) I took about 30 minutes of receiving and opening the package. The roll was in the expected sealed bag with a desiccant packet.

No problem for the filament as far as I can detect. 100F is far below the melting point. Today the material temperature reading is a comfortable 78F

The product is apparently manufactured by Orion Composites and is called “Print2Cast” by both Orion and MachinableWax. The label states it is made in the USA. 

I could not find much information on Orion Composites. One source seems to be makers of fiberglass boats in Knoxville, TN. Another is a maker of space flight capsules. I did discover a reference to the Orion Composites filament from (example) marketing materials posted on the Internet by an obscure marketing consultant. Perhaps Orion (whomever they are) decided marketing Print2Cast would be better if presented from a known machinable wax distributor.

In any case, the material has been available for at least 5 years. Many of the user reports I have discovered are NOT from people knowledgeable in Lost Wax Casting. They are 3D printer aficionados trying a new material. Some of them were apparently quite new to 3D printing in general.

The reason may be the "real users" have no interest or need to spend their time publishing their wax printing foibles and results on the web. Or there are no real users. 

Basic extruding settings and print “rules” are published by the maker, so there is a starting point. Casting and burnout are the same as any other lost wax process. Good investment material and a 1350-degree kiln. There are no casting shortcuts.

I am dedicating a 3D printer to wax filament. 

If it works at all as a method for producing wax casting models, I will find the combination of variables. My expectation with the FDM print process is that the print will not be absolutely perfect, ready to invest for casting. Wax is extremely easy to hand work. All wax models for casting need some hand finishing and detailing. I have those skills and tools. Separate parts can easily be assembled with a hot wax pen.

I follow the same detail process when using CNC machining to produce casting models. The machining (as with printing) is nothing but an intermediate process.

Lost Wax Casting is far more than print and cast. The 3D print is but one step. I believe this can be a good addition to my LWC process.

More to come…