SolidWorks aids CNC machine to slash lead times on patterns

Following the installation of a CNC pattern making system, a UK foundry has slashed the lead time for high temperature castings from a maximum 18 weeks to as little as two weeks.

The increase in the speed that bespoke new casting designs can be produced has also reduced the initial cost, making smaller batches of castings more economic and reducing the cash tied up in stock.

The foundry makes the baskets, trays and fixtures that it uses in its own high temperature heat treatment and vacuum brazing operations and also offers this service to other manufactures in hot trades.

High strength castings, with low mass, permit target furnace temperatures to be achieved quickly for faster cycle times using less energy. Understanding this means Wallwork can develop more economic and efficient designs that use material economically but retain strength in key areas.


The CNC pattern manufacturing process starts with SolidWorks, a software package that creates a virtual 3D model that can be visualised from any angle. Once the design has been optimised this is converted by the CAD/CAM software into a digital file that is transferred to the Haas CNC milling machine. Working with medium to high-density resin board, the machine then mills away all excess material to create a single-piece precision pattern that the foundry can use again and again.

Foundry manager Alex Beck commented, “With the new machine we can respond quickly to customer needs, be more flexible and even more competitive. Patterns made by this method have a good working life, but all designs are stored digitally so we can easily replicate patterns or make modified designs if needed.”

For more information contact the local agent Mecad Systems on TEL: 086 111 2236 or visit the website