Rapid prototyping runs on a tight schedule; the mold, the first cast, the machining, and finishing touches — each step is carefully planned with deadlines that can't be missed. It's this that makes accuracy doubly important. When a millimeter or two can lead to an entire project being scrapped, getting everything right at the first attempt becomes more than a question of quality; it's the difference between failure and success.
But therein lies the challenge. Unlike serial production, which uses tools that were optimized during an intensive development process, one-off prototypes are made using 3D-printed sand mold segments and cores that are assembled by hand — a naturally less accurate technique. Despite the differences between the two, our customers require an end product that looks and functions just as well as any mass-produced part; after all, the slightest misalignment could have severe consequences for key parameters such as wall thickness.
In these cases, the margins truly are minuscule. For example, the inlets of an aluminum cylinder head must be positioned with an accuracy of 0.3 mm — roughly the size of a single grain of salt. Trying to align these pieces by eyesight alone would not be possible.