Ranging from difficult to impossible to machine, the four key components that comprise the patented helical bevel gear-drive must be cast. For the 5 field trial valves, the patterns were scaled up from the digital model to allow shrinkage of the molten metal part and printed in wax. The patterns were produced by American Precision Prototyping, LLC with the selective laser sintering process at a fraction of the cost of traditional molded pattern tooling.
Alpha Investment Casting received the patterns and entered them into production, leapfrogging the steps of setting up permanent tooling in the injection press and molding a few patterns. VSI benefits from quick delivery of parts that meet production part specifications.