I now have the production of the foam model to a point where I can have the cnc machine do all of the work for me. Once I have it set up, the machine will cut out one HBLB every 4 minutes while I work on other things. When the machine is done, I show up to pull the patterns out of the billet and they are ready to be coated for the casting process. This part has been so difficult to design and build that it is a relief to see how well it is turning out.
Another shot which shows the resolution that is capable with the hot wire cnc foam cutter.
One of four test pieces that cooled before the aluminum completely filled the mold. I discovered that the aluminum had to go uphill to fill the cavity with the part oriented the way I had it. The next test series will have the part oriented vertically instead. This should solve the chill area problems.
Test piece number 2 right out of the sand bucket.
Here you see the three generations of HBLB as it has evolved over the last six months. The first from the left was a wooden model cast in aluminum then all of the holes and slots were machined. This took forever and was very inaccurate. The center part was the result of milling multiple layers of foam and then stacking them to create 3d extrusion of the HBLB. The third is the current generation and has the smoothest finish and most accurate detail.
Another shot of the three generations.