3d sand printer

Sand 3d printers

Reinventing Metal Casting with Sand 3D Printing Additive Manufacturing Technology

Our revolutionary binder jetting sand 3D printer empowers your foundry to overcome traditional casting constraints and adopt the future of digital manufacturing.

By printing intricate sand molds directly from CAD data, it eliminates the need for patterns and tools to create complex geometries impossible with conventional mold making.

Reduce new product development timelines by 70% through rapid prototyping and accelerated design validation.

Enable on-demand short run production without high tooling costs. With minimal waste, 100% sand recyclability and inventory efficiencies, it also aligns with sustainability goals.

Bring agility, flexibility and unprecedented capabilities to your foundry with our leading-edge sand 3D printing systems purpose-built to help shape the next-generation of metal casting.

AFS sand 3d printer 2023

What is sand 3D printer?

A sand 3D printer, also known as a binder jetting 3D printer for sand casting, is a type of 3D printing technology designed specifically for creating sand molds and cores used in metal casting processes. These printers are not meant for creating final parts or objects but rather for producing the molds and cores needed to cast metal parts with complex geometries.

Here's how a sand 3D printer typically works:

  1. Layer-by-Layer Deposition: The printer deposits a thin layer of sand powder (usually a fine silica sand) onto a build platform.
  2. Inkjet Printing: A printhead or similar mechanism selectively applies a liquid binding agent (often a water-based adhesive or resin) onto the layer of sand powder. This binding agent binds the sand particles together at specific locations, essentially "gluing" them together.
  3. Layer-by-Layer Building: Steps 1 and 2 are repeated, with successive layers of sand and binding agent applied on top of one another. The 3D printer follows a digital 3D model to build up the shape of the sand mold or core layer by layer.
  4. Solidification: Once the printing process is complete, the 3D printed sand mold or core is allowed to dry and solidify. This may involve curing the binding agent or allowing it to air-dry.
  5. Post-Processing: After solidification, the 3D printed sand mold or core is carefully removed from the excess loose sand powder, cleaned, and prepared for use in a metal casting process.

The primary purpose of a sand 3D printer is to produce highly detailed and intricate molds and cores for casting applications. These molds and cores are used to define the shape of the metal part being cast. Molten metal is poured into the mold, and when it cools and solidifies, it takes on the shape of the 3D printed sand mold or core.

Sand 3D printing offers advantages such as faster prototyping, reduced lead times, and the ability to produce complex geometries that may be challenging or costly to achieve using traditional mold-making techniques. It is commonly used in industries like automotive, aerospace, and foundries, where precise and intricate metal parts need to be produced through casting processes.

Video showing the sand mould 3D printing process

Sand mold 3D printing, also known as binder jetting(Learn more) or sand 3D printing, is a technology used primarily in the foundry and casting industry to create intricate molds and cores for metal casting processes.

Sand mold 3D printing offers several advantages in the foundry and casting industry, including the ability to create complex and optimized internal geometries, reduced tooling costs, faster prototyping, and improved casting quality. It's a valuable technology for industries that require precision and flexibility in their casting processes.

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Where are sand 3D printers used and why?

With the rapid development of 3D printing technology, sand 3D printing from the beginning only in a few specific industries to now has been widely used in various industries. What are the most important industries currently in use?Here are some of the key areas where sand 3D printers were being used and their reasons:

  1. Foundry and Casting: Sand 3D printing, often referred to as "3D sand printing" or "binder jetting," is widely used in foundries and casting processes. It is employed to create intricate sand molds and cores for metal casting. The advantages include faster prototyping, reduced tooling costs, and the ability to create complex and optimized internal geometries within the molds, which can lead to improved casting quality.

  2. Aerospace: The aerospace industry uses sand 3D printing for creating complex, lightweight components like turbine blades, engine components, and structural parts. This technology allows for the production of parts with optimized designs that can reduce weight while maintaining strength and performance.

  3. Automotive: Similar to aerospace, the automotive industry uses sand 3D printing for prototyping and producing parts, especially for racing cars or concept vehicles where lightweight and high-performance components are essential. It can also be used for producing molds and cores for casting engine components.

  4. Art and Sculpture: Some artists and sculptors have adopted sand 3D printing as a means to create intricate and detailed sculptures that would be challenging to produce using traditional methods. The technology enables artists to experiment with unique shapes and designs.

  5. Architectural Models: Architects and construction firms use sand 3D printing to create detailed architectural models for presentations and planning. It allows for the rapid and accurate production of scaled models that can help in visualizing complex building designs.

  6. Marine and Offshore: The marine industry has also embraced sand 3D printing for producing components used in shipbuilding and offshore structures. This technology can be used to create custom components with complex geometries, improving the efficiency and performance of maritime systems.

The primary advantages of using sand 3D printers in these industries include cost-effective and rapid prototyping, the ability to create complex geometries, reduced material waste, and improved design freedom. Additionally, sand 3D printing can lead to shorter production times and lower tooling costs, making it an attractive option for various applications where customization and complexity are important factors.

AFS 3d sand printer applications
3D printed sand mouldsRapid delivery of finished parts

Revolutionizing Foundries: How Sand 3D Printing is Changing Metal Casting Forever

Sand 3D printers have the potential to bring several significant changes and improvements to foundries, which are facilities responsible for casting metal parts. These changes can impact various aspects of foundry operations:

  1. Reduced Lead Times: Sand 3D printing enables foundries to quickly produce intricate and complex sand molds and cores for metal casting. This can significantly reduce the lead time required to set up the casting process for new parts, allowing for faster production and response to customer demands.
  2. Design Flexibility: Foundries can use 3D printing to create molds and cores with intricate and optimized designs. This flexibility in design can lead to improved product performance, reduced material consumption, and enhanced casting efficiency.
  3. Complex Geometries: Sand 3D printing can produce molds and cores with complex internal and external geometries that would be challenging or impossible to achieve using traditional methods. This capability opens up new possibilities for designing lightweight and innovative components.
  4. Prototype Development: Foundries can rapidly prototype and iterate on designs using 3D printing. This facilitates the testing and validation of new casting designs without the need for expensive and time-consuming tooling modifications.
  5. Cost Savings: While there is an initial investment in 3D printing equipment and materials, the technology can lead to cost savings in the long run due to reduced scrap, less material waste, and improved casting efficiency.
  6. Customization: Sand 3D printing allows for the creation of customized molds and cores tailored to specific casting requirements. This is particularly beneficial for low-volume or one-off production runs where traditional tooling setup costs may be prohibitive.
  7. Improved Casting Quality: The precision and consistency of 3D printing can lead to higher casting quality with fewer defects. This can reduce the need for costly rework and improve overall product quality.
  8. Environmental Impact: Sand 3D printing can be more environmentally friendly compared to traditional mold-making processes, as it generates less waste and can often use recyclable sand material.
  9. Worker Safety: Traditional foundry work can be physically demanding and hazardous. The introduction of 3D printing for mold and core production can reduce the need for some manual labor tasks, potentially improving worker safety and reducing exposure to harmful substances.
  10. Adaptation to Changing Demands: Foundries using sand 3D printing are better positioned to adapt to changing market demands and evolving design requirements, as they can quickly reconfigure their casting processes.

Overall, sand 3D printing technology offers foundries a way to modernize their operations, increase efficiency, and stay competitive in an ever-changing manufacturing landscape. However, the adoption of this technology may require investment in equipment, training, and process integration, and it may not be suitable for all foundry applications.

If you are interested in sand 3D printing technology and plan to apply it to your business model please contact us.


Traditional Casting VS 3D Printed Sand Casting

  1. Easy to deal with the complex structure of the parts
  2. Simple manufacturing process, to achieve rapid delivery
  3. Reduce pollution emission, realise green casting
  4. Automated production, reduce labour costs
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Traditional Casting VS 3D Printed Sand Casting

AFS' Sand 3D Printing Equipments

AFS J2100 2023 update

AFS J2100 Sand 3D Printer

The equipment adopts the inkjet principle, by spraying the binder on the mixing platform of special sand material and curing agent, and solidifying and moulding layer by layer. The equipment uses international first-line high-precision, high-throughput nozzles, the printed products have good dimensional accuracy, high strength, low outgassing, excellent surface quality, and realise non-contact automatic moulding of the products. The equipment is stable in operation, easy to operate, with real-time monitoring of the working status, automatic alarm for abnormality, and safe and reliable operation. The equipment can be widely used in aerospace, military, automotive, marine, engineering machinery, scientific research institutes, digital sculpture and cultural and creative fields.

  • Equipment Type: AFS-J2100
  • Forming Cylinder Size: 2160×1330×700 mm
  • Equipment Dimensions: 5500×3000×4600 mm
  • Max. forming size: 2100×1290×700 mm
  • Printing Speed: 20-25s/Layer
  • Printing Materials: Quartz sand, vitrified sand
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AFS J1600 Pro Sand 3D Printer

The equipment adopts the latest generation of high-speed vibration powder laying technology (HSVC 9.0 Silent), together with high-performance molding process and intelligent algorithm technology, providing users with excellent molding accuracy, balanced and controllable casting performance and excellent reliability.

High speed: 15-20 s/layer
The fastest print speed in the industry in its class

High-speed vibration powder spreading
High stability, low noise, servo motor vibration parameters can be freely adjusted, smooth sand,no lack of material,high strength of the sand mold.

High efficiency: 92-153L/h
Stacking efficiency comparable to that of large format equipment

High accuracy: up to ±0.3mm
2-Pass printing, reducing the frequency of printhead module turning, reducing the indirect seam between passes,and improving printing accuracy

Equipment Parameters:

  • Equipment Type: AFS-J1600 Pro
  • Forming Cylinder Size: 1600×800×600mm
  • Equipment Dimensions: 4120×2120×3270mm
  • Max. forming size: 1560×770×600mm
  • Printing Speed: 15-20s/Layer
  • Printing Materials: Quartz sand, vitrified sand etc.
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J1600 plus 2023 update

AFS J1600 Plus Sand 3D Printer

This Binder jetting sand 3D printer utilizes the international top tier high precision and high flux nozzles, thus ensuring that the printed products have high dimensional accuracy, high strength, low outgassing and excellent surface quality. This sand 3D printer is equipped with a real-time monitoring function, which can monitor the working status of the equipment at any time, and automatically alarms in the event of abnormalities to ensure the safety and reliability of the operation process. It is currently widely used in aerospace, automotive, marine, engineering machinery, research institutes, digital sculpture and cultural creativity. Whether you need to manufacture complex parts in the aerospace field or rapid prototyping in the automotive industry, this sand 3D printer of ours can provide you with efficient, accurate and reliable solutions.

  • Equipment Type: AFS-J1600 Plus
  • Forming Cylinder Size: 1600×1060×700 mm 
  • Equipment Dimensions: 4170×5560×3800 mm
  • Max. forming size: 1600×1000×700 mm
  • Printing Speed: 15-18s/Layer
  • Printing Materials: Quartz sand, vitrified sand etc.
More details

Sand Mould Casting Knowledge Expansion

Sand casting is a traditional and widely used metal casting process that forms various shapes and sizes of metal components using sand molds and casting patterns. This article delves into the key components of sand casting: sand casting molds, sand casting patterns, and the sand casting process, as well as their significance and applications in modern manufacturing.

1. Sand Casting Molds

A sand casting mold is a crucial component used for casting metals. It consists of a mixture of sand and binders, forming molds that define the external and internal structures of castings. In sand casting, molds are divided into two parts: the cope and the drag, which together form the shape of the casting.

The process of making sand casting molds typically involves the following steps:

  • Preparation of patterns or prototypes for molding.
  • Making the cope and drag by placing the pattern in a molding box and filling it with sand and binders, compacting to form the mold's contours.
  • Removing the molding box, extracting the mold, and refining its surfaces to ensure smoothness and accuracy.
  • Finally, assembling the cope and drag to form a complete mold, ready for casting.

2. Sand Casting Patterns

Sand casting patterns are models or samples used to create sand casting molds. They represent the specific shapes and dimensions of castings and play a crucial role in mold-making. Sand casting patterns can be made of wood, metal, plastic, or other materials, depending on the requirements and production processes of the casting.

The process of making sand casting patterns typically involves the following steps:

  • Designing patterns based on the casting's design requirements and dimensions, often using design drawings or CAD models.
  • Creating specific pattern models based on the design drawings or CAD models, usually using materials such as wood or plastic.
  • Refining and processing the pattern models to ensure compliance with requirements and suitability for making sand casting molds.
  • Finally, making sand casting molds based on the pattern models for subsequent casting processes.

3. Sand Casting Process

The sand casting process is a common metal casting method known for its low cost, flexibility, and wide applicability. It involves the use of sand molds and casting patterns to produce metal castings of various shapes and sizes. The basic steps of the sand casting process include mold preparation, casting, cooling, shakeout, and finishing.

The main steps of the sand casting process are as follows:

  • Mold preparation: Making sand casting molds and preparing casting patterns.
  • Casting: Melting metal materials (such as iron, aluminum, copper, etc.) and pouring them into prepared molds.
  • Cooling: Allowing the metal to cool and solidify in the mold.
  • Shakeout: Removing the casting from the sand mold.
  • Finishing: Removing excess sand, flash, and other impurities from the casting surface to achieve smoothness.

Sand casting is suitable for producing small to large metal castings, offering cost-effective solutions for various industries, including automotive manufacturing, machining, aerospace, and more.

In modern manufacturing, sand casting technology continues to evolve and improve to meet changing needs and challenges. By optimizing mold design, material selection, and production processes, sand casting will continue to play a vital role in providing high-quality, economically efficient casting solutions for various industries.

Smart manufacturing factory scenes 05


Ready to transform your foundry into an innovative powerhouse? Don't miss out on the future of casting technology. Contact us today to learn how our Sand 3D Printer can be tailored to meet your foundry's unique needs. Elevate your casting capabilities and stay ahead of the competition. Your success starts here!

Revolutionize Your Foundry Operations with Our Advanced Sand 3D Printer!

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Longyuan AFS Co., Ltd. is a leading provider of 3D printing equipment and manufacturing services in China, providing high-quality R&D pilot production and rapid manufacturing services for small-lot, multi-species and complex structure metal products based on the integrated technology of "3D printing, casting, machining and inspection".

  • Email: sales@lyafs.com
  • Phone:+86 13299265105
  • Add: No 7 Yudong Road, B Area, Tianzhu Konggang Industrial Park, Shunyi District, Beijing, China.