Faculty Publications


Towards replacement of failed parts on the battlefield via metal casting in 3D-printed desert sand molds

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

MFPT 2019: Where Theory Meets Practice


The research was performed to show the feasibility and scale-up potential of production of replacement parts for long lead time DoD critical components utilizing a sand 3D-printer with indigenous desert sand to produce casting molds from a digital drawing of the actual part. Replacement and/or spare parts could then theoretically be manufactured by pouring molten metal into these molds. Success was achieved in producing parts in a laboratory setting by pouring molten aluminum into 3D-printed desert sand molds of smaller components, but scale-up proved difficult, as the fine desert sand did not fully adhere to itself, and the mold strength was less than optimal. Lessons learned could potentially be utilized to further this effort in the use of different sand, for example beach sand, which may be easier to process.

Original Publication Date



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa



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