Patterns For Investment Casting


Can our 3-D printers generate wax (or similar) patterns for investment/lost-wax casting?

Quite recently, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) hosted a international Additive Manufacturing trade-show at the F.W. Convention Center. On had were several vendors with affordable small 3-D printers used for generating investment casting patters. These machines are capable of very high resolution and extremely fine detail!


The Form Labs Form 2 is able to print in a ‘castable’ resin that’s designed for investment. Jewelry has a few example rings that have been made using the printer.

However, the printer is out for maintainence at the moment and I’m not personally sure what the status is on that…


I’ve seen people just use ABS/PLA for investment casting.


While it’s true that technically you can use the lost wax method to cast things that are burnable there isn’t any guarantee that all of the carbon or other residue from PLA or ABS will cleanly burn out of the mold if you try using these for the lost wax method. Also, PLA and ABS will likely produce irritating or even toxic fumes. Some of these fumes might degrade the inside of the burnout kiln.

Please never use any materials that aren’t approved by the Jewelry/Small Metals chair.