Novel Near-Net-Shape Tool-Less Method for Manufacturing of Cast Metal Matrix Composites: Three-Dimensional Printing (3DP) of Ceramic Preforms Combined with Investment Casting Technology
New three-dimensional printing technology (3DP) developed at MIT was tried as a manufacturing method to fabricate ceramic preforms for a discontinuously reinforced metal matrix composites. Minor modifications to the “legacy” 3DP technology allowed to produce such preforms successfully. Preforms were then infiltrated with liquid aluminum resulting in composite materials as strong as produced via conventional methods. Net shape connecting rod preforms were 3D-printed and used to produce composite connecting rods without building any molds or tooling using novel Tool-less Mold™ technology.