Shrouds - Casting, 3D printing, CNC machining - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 09-05-2015, 11:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Shrouds - Casting, 3D printing, CNC machining


Several threads had discussed the creation of the Tuna Shroud via CNC, and 3D printing.

Would casting Aluminum be cheaper than doing it via CNC mill, unless of course you want an SS material so casting is off the table. And 3D printing would only off you some plastic material and not metal.

Or you can create the 3D mold through the CNC milling or 3D printing method and cast the final shroud. Finishing could be CNC but not necessary if the tolerance and cast finish is nice enough and can just require some sanding.

Any thoughts? Anyone has done this through Al Casting method?

How about the watch case themselves - how about doing it through casting? It would not be a certified diver, but something that can be used for MODs and desk diving.

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Old 01-09-2016, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Casting of very thin parts, and holding spec is a bit of a pain in the butt.

If you wanted to cast a shroud, and I don't think the trouble is worth it, unless its cast gold or other precious metal, you'd have to create an adjusted positive by trial and error casting, then cast the actual pieces, and then final machine them. Same for cases.

You could 3D print positives, ceramic dip them repeatedly, fire the ceramic which would burn out the plastic, redip and encase the new mold, and do your casting that way. Its known as the "investment cast" process, or "lost wax" method, if you care to search online.

There is a common fallacy with the term "CNC", whereby "CNC" is either thought of as some super precise process, or easy. It is neither. CNC allows you to control tool and material position while cutting the material in a repeatedly consistent method.

The person who sets up the CNC machine must allow for heat dissipation causing warping, flexing, tool wear, positional inaccuracy with the various fixtures and good old "slop" in the whole works. Seiko makes their shrouds via a form of CNC machining, so they can achieve a run of parts that is very consistent, and cost effective.

While on the subject of cost efficiency, those actual parts must be valued in terms of what it took to create the tooling and fixtures and develop the programming, as well as the run time of the machine. It may well have cost a hundred man hours, even when reusing parts of fixtures, for a new part. Plus programming. So you might have to spread, perhaps fifteen thousand investment dollars into that one part. In that case you must consider a production run of at least a certain amount to even make production cover its own costs.

When making one item... a one off, or an odd number of like items, you'll be better off figuring out how to hold the metal, how to cut it, how to disengage it from your stock without destroying it, and how to finish it.... using simple fixtures that you also have created yourself.
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Old 01-09-2016, 01:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can 3d print metal, perhaps not at home, but commercial services are available.
David S - Whatever method we adopt, let us give the device that finished look, as though made by machinery, and highly skilled workmen, and not painfully gnawed out by mice. - "Staking Tools And How To Use Them"
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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M.I.M is a form of metal moulding (casting)
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Old 01-13-2016, 04:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Are you asking because you want to make a one off or make parts to sell? Just interested.
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