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PC-Based Casting Solidification Modeling Software

Training Course Workbook Copyright 2003

EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Version 6.2

EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING

SOLIDCast
By Finite Solutions Inc SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT I, the undersigned, agree to abide by the terms of the Licensing Agreement on the next page of this agreement. I understand that Finite Solutions Inc retains all rights to this software, and that this license allows me to run this software on multiple computers at one physical location. If I need additional site licenses, I understand that they are available at an additional cost. I understand this system cannot be rented out or shared or disassembled or added onto in any way. If I do not agree with the conditions of this license, then I must return the system to Finite Solutions Inc immediately.
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Name (print) Date _________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature _________________________________________________________________________________________ Company _________________________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________________________________________ City State Country ZIP/Postal Code _________________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone Fax Email Address _________________________________________________________________________________________ Alloy Types Poured Molding Processes My signature means that I have agreed to all conditions in this license.

Please make a copy of this agreement for your own records, then mail or fax this copy to:

Finite Solutions Inc 4769 Highland Park Dr Slinger WI 53086-9441 USA Fax 262 592 0044

EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING

SOLIDCast
Finite Solutions, Inc. SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT
This is a legal agreement between you, the user, and Finite Solutions, Inc. By installing and using this software, you agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. If you do not agree to these terms, do not proceed with installation or use of this software. You may install this software and use it on multiple computers only at the original site where this software was purchased. You may not loan, rent, lease or transfer this software to another owner. You may not install or use this software at another site under the same ownership, nor transfer this software to such a site, without obtaining a separate site license. A site is considered to be a single plant or business unit at a specific geographic location. You are entitled to receive updates to the software only under the terms of the annual technical support program from Finite Solutions, Inc. This software is protected by United States copyright laws and international treaties. Finite Solutions, Inc. warrants that software copies, whether downloaded or on disk, are free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for (90) days from the date you receive them. This warranty is not transferable. Any implied warranties are limited to 90 days. The entire liability of Finite Solutions, Inc. and its suppliers, and your exclusive remedy, shall be (a) return of the price paid for the software or (b) replacement of any disk or downloaded file that does not meet with this warranty. Finite Solutions, Inc. does not warrant that the functions of the software will meet your requirements or that the operation of the software will be uninterrupted or error free. You assume the responsibility for selecting the software to achieve your intended results, and for the use and results obtained from the software. Finite Solutions, Inc. disclaims all other warranties, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, for the software and all accompanying materials. In no event shall Finite Solutions, Inc. or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitations, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, loss due to liability, or other pecuniary loss) arising out of use or inability to use the software. This license will be in effect until terminated. It will terminate if you fail to comply with any term thereof. Upon termination, you agree that the software and accompanying materials, and all copies thereof, will be destroyed.

EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING


COURSE SYLLABUS

UNIT 1: OVERVIEW OF THE MODELING PROCESS UNIT 2: SYSTEM INSTALLATION AND SYSTEM CONSIDERATIONS UNIT 3: SETTING SYSTEM PARAMETERS UNIT 4: SELECTING THE CASTING ALLOY UNIT 5: COOLING CURVES AND VOLUMETRIC CHANGE CURVES UNIT 6: CUSTOMIZING CURVES FOR CAST IRONS ALLOY SELECTION INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS UNIT 7: SELECTING MOLD MATERIALS UNIT 8: HEAT TRANSFER COEFFICIENTS UNIT 9: IMPORTING STL FILES UNIT 10: BASIC GEOMETRIC SHAPES UNIT 11: REVOLVED AND EXTRUDED SHAPES UNIT 12: DISPLAY CONTROLS UNIT 13: GENERATING A MESH UNIT 14: WEIGHT CALCULATIONS UNIT 15: VIEW FACTOR CALCULATIONS UNIT 16: RUNNING A SIMULATION UNIT 17: PLOTTING RESULTS USING ISO-SURFACES

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UNIT 18: PLOTTING RESULTS USING CUT PLANES UNIT 19: PLOTTING RESULTS USING CASTPIC UNIT 20: OUTPUT CRITERIA: SOLIDIFICATION TIME UNIT 21: OUTPUT CRITERIA: CRITICAL FRACTION SOLID TIME UNIT 22: OUTPUT CRITERIA: MATERIAL DENSITY FUNCTION UNIT 23: OUTPUT CRITERIA: TEMPERATURE GRADIENT UNIT 24: OUTPUT CRITERIA: COOLING RATE UNIT 25: OUTPUT CRITERIA: THE NIYAMA CRITERION UNIT 26: OUTPUT CRITERIA: HOT SPOTS UNIT 27: OUTPUT CRITERIA: CUSTOM CRITERION UNIT 28: IMPORTING MODEL FILES UNIT 29: PLANES OF SYMMETRY UNIT 30: PRIORITY NUMBERS: INTERSECTING SHAPES UNIT 31: VOID MATERIAL UNIT 32: MOLD FILLING UNIT 33: MODELING CONSIDERATIONS BY PROCESS UNIT 34: CAPTURING AND PRINTING IMAGES UNIT 35: MODEL EDITING UNIT 36: EDITING THE PROJECT TREE/ARCHIVING PROJECTS UNIT 37: MAKING MOVIES UNIT 38: COMPONENT: THE IMPORT/EXPORT FUNCTION

EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING


UNIT 39: MIRRORING RESULTS UNIT 40: CLONING A MODEL UNIT 41: FCC CUSTOM CRITERION UNIT 42: TILT POUR UNIT 43: LOW PRESSURE PERMANENT MOLD CASTING UNIT 44: COOLING CHANNELS IN PERMANENT MOLD CASTING UNIT 45: RISER DESIGN WIZARD UNIT 46: STAND-ALONE UTILITIES UNIT 47: GATING DESIGN WIZARD BASIC THEORY OF GATING DESIGN UNIT 48: USING THERMOCOUPLES UNIT 49: COMMON ERRORS ERROR 429: ACTIVEX CAN'T CREATE OBJECT RUN TIME ERROR 53: FILE NOT FOUND UNIT 50: SETUP FILES UNIT 51: MODELING HEAT TREAT PROCESSES

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UNIT 1: Overview of the Modeling Process


Solidification modeling refers to the process of simulating, on a computer, what happens when a casting is poured into a mold and the metal cools and solidifies. By simulating this process, we hope to predict potential defects in the casting and redesign the process to eliminate the defects, before making actual castings. What are the basic steps in performing solidification modeling?

1. Create a 3D Model of a Casting


We need to be able to model the shape of the casting, gating and risers. There are several methods in SOLIDCast by which this can be accomplished: a. Import all geometry from a CAD system as STL file b. Import casting geometry from CAD and create gating and risering in SOLIDCast c. Create the entire casting and rigging geometry within SOLIDCast In SOLIDCast we can create casting and rigging geometry using the following methods: a. b. c. d. Create basic geometric shapes (rectangular blocks, solid or hollow cylinders, spheres) Create a 2D shape and revolve about a center line to create a Solid of Revolution Create a 2D shape and extrude to form a Solid of Extrusion Create a Transition Shape from one 2D Cross Section to another

Where do we get the 2D shapes used in b., c. and d. above? a. We can create 2D geometry in AFSCad and save as AFSCad or DXF files b. We can import 2D DXF files from another CAD system c. We can DIGITIZE shapes using the Digitizer Input program (and save as DXF files)

2. Select Materials and Initial Conditions


We need first of all to select the Casting Alloy out of which we are making the casting. SOLIDCast contains a database of well over 200 casting alloys. Second, we need to select any materials that will be used in the mold. This may include such things as: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Molding sand Core sands Chills Sleeves Investment shell Permanent mold materials Cooling channels

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Third, we need to specify the rate at which heat is exchanged across surfaces. For most sand and shell processes, this involves specifying Heat Transfer Coefficients at external surfaces. For investment processes, we may need to perform a View Factor Calculation to take into account radiation heat exchange between various portions of the shell. For permanent mold processes, we need to specify Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients to take into account mold coatings. We also need to specify the Ambient Temperature and the filling time, if we are going to simulate the filling of the mold cavity.

3. Mesh the Model


Meshing the model refers to breaking the model into many small elements so the Heat Transfer Calculations can be performed on the casting and mold. SOLIDCast uses the Finite Difference Method (FDM) of calculation. This means that the mesh is rectangular, made up of a series of cubic nodes. Once you have specified the meshing parameters, meshing is automatic. In SOLIDCast, the creation of the mold around the casting can be done as an automatic operation when the mesh is generated, either as a rectangular box, or as a constant-thickness shell. (This is not strictly necessary: The mold can be created as part of the model, in which case you can bypass automatic mold creation.)

4. Run the Simulation


This is an automatic function in SOLIDCast. You can start a simulation running, then use the computer to perform other operations while the simulation is running in the background.

5. Analyze the Results


Once the simulation is finished, you can analyze and plot results in one of three ways: a. Iso-Surface Plots show 3D surfaces inside a transparent casting. This allows you to plot the location of molten metal at a given time, or the area of the casting that has a specific temperature. b. Cut-Plane Plots show data inside the casting on a 2D plane that can be moved through the casting model. c. CastPic plots show three-dimensional images, in color, of the results of the simulation. There are also five different animation methods, which allow you to create Windows-Standard AVI movie clips, which can be rerun on any computer that has the Windows Media Player.

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Using these tools, you can analyze the simulation results to predict whether there will be porosity (shrinkage) problems in the casting, or whether the casting is likely to be sound with a given rigging design. If the casting appears to be unsound, then the process design can be altered and a new design can be evaluated. You may want to make changes in such things as: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. Riser size Riser shape Number of risers Riser placement Gate location Fill rate Casting shape Pouring temperature Mold or shell preheat temperature Chills Sleeves Mold material

Etc. Making a change in one or more of the above will mean a new simulation run and evaluation of the effects of the change by plotting the simulation results again.

The Goals: Improve your success rate on the first casting poured. Eliminate production problems quickly. Reduce scrap. Improve yield. Lower costs. Improve quality. Improve your foundrys profitability.

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UNIT 2: System Installation and System Considerations


Hardware
We recommend running this software on a Pentium III or Pentium 4 computer system or better. The software is capable of running on any Pentium computer, however a Pentium III running at 500 MHz or faster will give the best performance. Your computer should have a minimum of 128 MB of RAM; we recommend 256 MB or more. The graphics card should have a minimum of 8 MB of on-board RAM; we recommend 16 MB or more of on-board RAM. While systems with less memory and slower processors will run the software, performance is reduced and the ability to run other applications simultaneously is impaired. These requirements are based on SOLIDCast only. If you intend to run the automatic casting/process optimization(OPTICast) or CFD-based fluid flow(FLOWCast) modules, then hardware requirements may be increased. Please see the specific training manuals for these modules for current requirements.

System Installation
New systems will come on a CD with several files and directories. The SOLIDCast installation files and training manual are in the root directory. Other directories may include one for the AFS Solidification System (3D), which was the DOS forerunner of SOLIDCast, one for Internet Explorer, one for WinZip, one for the Windows Media Player and one for the Indeo Codec, which is used in the movie making function. These additional folders are included in case you need some of those support files on your particular computers. Most systems will already have these functions installed. There may also be a folder for demos of other FSI products. To install SOLIDCast, navigate to the system directory and run the SOLIDCastInstall.exe program. We recommend that you use the default path names (\Program Files\SOLIDCast) for installation of the system. After installation, you can create a shortcut on the desktop simply by navigating to the \Program Files\SOLIDCast folder and right-clicking on the SOLIDCast icon. Note: When installing or updating on machines running Windows NT, 2000 or XP Pro, make sure you are logged in as Administrator, so you have the appropriate read/write privileges for the installation. You will also want to allow various read/write/modify privileges for the system user. See the file Installation Instructions.txt on the installation CD for more detailed information.

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When you first run SOLIDCast, you should be running in demo mode. To activate the system for normal operations, click on HelpAbout SOLIDCast. This will bring up a window similar to this:

SOLIDCast requires the entry of two Response Codes, which will be supplied by Finite Solutions Inc. To activate SOLIDCast, click the button labeled Licensing You will see a window similar to this:

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Click on the button marked Copy System Codes to clipboard, then click on the Close box. Once you have exited, paste the System Codes into an email, and send them to FSI at Dave@finitesolutions.com or Larry@finitesolutions.com. We will run them through our security system, generate the proper Response Codes and send them back to you. You can then type in those codes to activate your system. Once the codes are typed in(or pasted from the email) click on the Activate button. If you dont have email on the machine you are installing the software on, please paste the codes into a text file, using NotePad or some other program. Please do not write the codes down by hand, as it is very easy to make an error, and the resulting Response Codes will not work on your machine. SOLIDCast can be installed on multiple machines at your plant or school, but each machine will have unique System Codes and will require unique Response Codes. Codes from one machine WILL NOT work on another machine. However, it IS possible to license multiple machines on a network. With version 5.5.34 and higher, you can configure SOLIDCast to operate on any machine on your site's network, without needing codes for each machine at your site. Please remember that even with this feature, the same license agreement and terms of purchase are still in force, regardless of how SOLIDCast is configured at your site.

Network Licensing for SOLIDCast


This feature enables you to install and activate SOLIDCast once by receiving response codes from Finite Solutions, and then simply enable your other computers on the network to make use of those codes. Follow these instructions. You should have administrator rights to your network and the technical ability to set up share points and set rights on a server directory. 0 -- INSTALL SOLIDCast to each local C: drive on each machine on your network from which you want the software to run. Even though network licensing is possible with this process, SOLIDCast must still be run from the LOCAL disk of each machine that you wish to have access to the software. 1 -- LOCATE your local SOLIDCast program directory. By default, this is usually located in "C:\Program Files\SOLIDCast". Make a note of this location for future reference. 2 -- CREATE a directory to hold the SOLIDCast license file on your file server. 3 -- SET "Directory Rights" for this directory to "Read" and "Write" for every user in your domain who will access SOLIDCast. 4 -- COPY the HIDDEN file with the name "Alloyindex.itx" to this newly created server directory.

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5 -- Once copied, SET "File Rights" to this file to "Read" and "Write". We recommend that you also set the "hidden" flag on this file. 6 -- CREATE a share point on your network server to hold the license file. For example: "\\LicenseServer\SCShare". The share point should point to the server directory which contains the "SOLIDCast" license file. 7 -- Set "Share Rights" for this share to "Read" and "Write" (do NOT set share rights to "Delete") 8 -- CREATE a text file called "NActive.txt", which contains one line of text: the UNC path to the network share created, for example "\\Licenseserver\SCShare". 9 -- COPY NActive.txt into each local hard drive on which SOLIDCast is installed, in the program directory for SOLIDCast. (By default, this is "C:\Program Files\SOLIDCast". If you installed into a different location, copy the file there instead.) 10 -- RUN SOLIDCast on one machine. SOLIDCast will retrieve the data from NActive.txt, and update an internal, hidden setting to change where it looks for the license file. Retrieve the system codes from that machine (Choose "help", "About SOLIDCast", and click on the "Licensing" button) and submit them to Finite Solutions to get response codes. 11 -- Enter the response codes on the SAME machine from which you got the system codes. DO NOT generate system codes on ANY other machine until you have received and entered response codes from Finite Solutions. 12 -- Once activated, RUN SOLIDCast on each machine, making sure that the NActive.txt file has been copied to each machine. SOLIDCast will retrieve the data from NActive.txt, update its internal settings, and reference the license file on the network. Some notes: -- You may use any enabled machine to generate System Codes to send to Finite Solutions for the renewal of your license. However, you MUST use the SAME machine to enter the response codes. -- If ANY machine's clock is set back for any reason by one day or more, the license routines in SOLIDCast will disable the software on EVERY machine configured with this procedure. You will be required to submit new system codes to FSI to re-enable the software. You may wish to prevent network users from changing the time and date on the system clock. Transitions to and from Daylight Savings Time should not cause the software to invalidate itself. -- The value you enter into the NActive.txt file will be PERMANENTLY set in SOLIDCast. You will be unable to change it through a repeat of the above procedure. If you wish to change the network path to your license file, contact Finite Solutions for a program which will reset your installation of SOLIDCast to a "local" version. -- OPTICast CANNOT be enabled for network licensing using this procedure. Because the licensing for OPTICast is per-machine, rather than per-site, you will need to obtain response codes for EACH machine on which you install OPTICast.
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-- FLOWCast CANNOT be enabled for network licensing using this procedure. Because the licensing for FLOWCast is per-machine, rather than per-site, you will need to obtain response codes for EACH machine on which you install FLOWCast. Please feel free to contact Rob Perkins at Finite Solutions (rob@finitesolutions.com, or call 360883-8807. Rob is on Pacific Time, so please call after 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time). Please see the file Network Installation Instructions for SOLIDCast.txt on the System CD for the most up-to-date details on network licensing for SOLIDCast. The system as shipped does run for a short period in demo mode, which does not require Response Codes. This is so you can get up and running right away, without a response required immediately from FSI. Note: Response Codes will activate your system for a certain number of days. Eventually, the time available will run down, and the system will need to be re-activated. To assure no loss of time, please contact us with a new set of System Codes when the activation period gets low. If you get very close to expiration, the system will display a warning message on the screen when you first enter SOLIDCast, to remind you to send us the new set of codes. We cannot provide you with new Response Codes until you send us the System Codes. We enter these codes into our software and the Response Codes are actually generated from your System Codes.

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SOLIDCast is under continual development, as we add new functions to the system. These updates can be downloaded from our web site. To obtain an update, navigate to the following site using your Web browser: http://www.finitesolutions.com You will see the FSI download page here. There are several useful items here, including the full install set, the latest update, and a copy of this training manual, in compressed format. All training manuals and text information are in Word format, and have been compressed using WinZip to reduce file size. There are also other utility packages available for download if you need them for your system. Just click on a link to download the file to your computer. To automatically be notified of system updates, join the SOLIDCast users eGroup. Point your web browser to http://groups.yahoo.com, and search for SOLIDCast. Ask to join, and well put you on the list. We send out regular information, including training schedules, tips and techniques and software update notification. Please join today, as this is our major method of informing our users of program updates.

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UNIT 3: Setting System Parameters


When you first install SOLIDCast it is a good idea to check out and properly set your System Parameters. A moment spent now making sure things are correct can head off many problems before they get a chance to start. When you first start SOLIDCast click on Tools...System Parameters. There are 5 tabs; Alloy Curves, Model Colors, Model & Sim, Directories and FLOWCast. The Alloy Curves tab, as shown below, lets you set up default values for new materials in your casting alloy database. These will also be applied if you ever reset material properties to defaults in the Materials List.

The Default Critical Fraction Solid %(CFS) is the value assumed to be the end of feeding, or metal movement, for a casting alloy. As freezing begins, the metal becomes thicker and pastier, until, at the CFS, it stops moving altogether. If feed metal hasn't been available to counteract any shrinkage that has been occurring, it will not be able to get to that point after it has reached the CFS. This would typically be set to about 60%. The Default Niyama Point % is the percent solid at which the Niyama value is calculated. The Niyama Criterion is made up of the Temperature Gradient at a point, divided by the square root of the Cooling Rate at the same point. This value is an indicator of the degree of directional solidification and the likelihood of shrinkage formation. The lower the value, the greater the potential for shrinkage formation. This is normally calculated at a point just after the CFS. A good starting point is 65%. The Default Solidification Shrinkage % is the amount of expansion or contraction that a metal undergoes during the cooling and solidification process. A negative value indicates overall shrinkage, or contraction, while a positive value indicates expansion. Most materials will shrink on cooling, so the value should be negative in most cases. A typical value would be 7%.

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The Model Colors tab, shown below, gives you full control of how the colors of a casting/mold model are displayed. There are special colors for Casting, Riser and Fill materials. Mold materials have 8 different colors. If more than 8 mold materials are used in a single model, the 8 colors will be reused in order.

There is also a color selection for the currently selected shape, which is used to highlight a model piece during editing. You can change these values to any of a set of standards, or create your own color in a customized palette.

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The Model & Sim tab, shown below, contains the defaults for measurement system, snap and the time step interval for Volumetric Calculations. It also has entries for the maximum number of facets displayed in an iso-surface plot, a toggle for displaying data graphically during simulation, and the redraw interval for the graphic display.

The system default for measurements is English units, that is, inches. If you check the Use Metric Measurements box, units will convert to millimeters. Temperatures will be in degrees C, rather than degrees F, and all other units will convert as well. Snap to Grid allows you to set a snap value for the Model Builder, so that you can draw to a specific interval. The Volumetric Calculation Interval defaults to every 10 time steps. For longer simulations, this number can be increased. It is recommended, however, that this number be at least at a 1% increment during solidification. For example, if a simulation will take 5000 time steps, a 1% increment would be every 50 time steps. Of course, you don't know the number of total time steps BEFORE a simulation runs, so this value will be based on experience with similar simulations. The Iso-Surface Maximum Facets value tells your system when to automatically change the detail value when plotting iso-surfaces. By limiting the maximum value, you can keep plotting times down. If this number gets too high, complicated models can take quite some time to plot. Display Temperature Data Graphic During Simulation and Graphic Display Interval control the picture shown during a simulation. If the Display checkbox is cleared, only a summary text screen will be displayed. If checked, a color picture of the filling and solidification is shown. The Graphic Display Interval tells the system to redraw the temperature distribution after the listed number of time steps.

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The Directories tab, shown below, lets you set up default locations for Projects and Import Files. Click on the Browse... button to navigate to a new directory. When you see the open folder in the Select a Path window, you know that is the current directory.

It is a good idea to set up the Projects path to an existing directory, such C:\Projects. Then, when you create new projects, the system will create new directories underneath this one. The Import Files path is usually set to where you keep your STL CAD files, if you will be bringing them into SOLIDCast. This is also where the system will store avi movie files created by the movie functions in SOLIDCast.

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UNIT 4: Selecting the Casting Alloy


If Model does not appear on the menu bar, select File New Model. Select Model, and then select Materials List. Click on the Casting tab. You will see a display similar to the following:

This shows the currently-selected casting alloy and its properties. Note that Initial Temperature refers to the pouring temperature of the alloy. You should adjust this to match the actual pouring temperature in your foundry. The values listed in the database for Initial Temperatures are just place holders, and should NOT be considered as recommended pouring temperatures.

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Now, to select a different alloy, click on the button marked From DB. You will see the following appear:

This screen allows you to select an alloy from the SOLIDCast material database. Cycle through the materials by clicking the up and down arrows in the upper-left window. Or, if you type the first letter of the Alloy Name, the window will scroll to the first item in the database with the same first letter. When you have selected the alloy, click on OK. Note that after you have selected an alloy from the database, you can change its properties (such as Initial Temperature) just by clicking on and changing that item.

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UNIT 5: Cooling Curves and Volumetric Change Curves


To see the cooling curve and the curve describing the volumetric change (shrinkage or expansion) of the selected alloy, click on Model Materials List and then click on the Curves tab. You will see a window as follows:

The white line indicates the cooling curve (Percent Solid vs. Temperature), where temperatures are read from the scale on the left. The black line indicates the volume change (in %), read from the scale on the right. The dark blue area on the left corresponds to the liquid state. The lighter blue area in the middle represents the transition from liquid to solid, and the dark area on the right is the solid state. The vertical line with a C is the Critical Fraction Solid Point, and the vertical line with an N is the Niyama Point (where Temperature Gradient and Cooling Rate are calculated during a simulation). The L and S lines are the Liquidus and Solidus lines. If you want to make sure that the curves are set according to the System Parameter settings, click on the Reset button.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING COOLING CURVES and CRITICAL FRACTION SOLID


A cooling curve describes how a single point in a casting behaves as it cools, when its temperature is plotted against time. We start at some initial time, with the liquid casting alloy at some initial temperature, typically the pouring temperature. This is the initial point on the curve. As the casting loses heat(superheat) to the mold, it cools down, remaining a liquid until it begins to solidify. The point that signifies the onset of solidification is called the liquidus point, and it shows up on our cooling curve as follows:

Once the alloy hits the liquidus point, it begins to solidify. At first, only a small fraction of the casting alloy is solid, but as the casting continues to lose heat, it becomes more and more solid. During this transition from liquid to solid, the rate of cooling generally slows down. The reason for this is a quantity known as the Latent Heat of Fusion. As a metal solidifies, it releases heat due to the formation of the crystalline structure of the metal matrix. This release of heat prevents the metal from cooling as rapidly as it does in either the fully liquid or fully solid states.

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The transition from liquid to solid appears as follows on our cooling curve:

Once the alloy is completely solid, we say that it has reached the Solidus Point. After reaching this point, the metal begins to cool more rapidly as a solid again, because no more latent heat is being released. Thus, the cooling in the solid state shows a steeper slope on our cooling curve, as follows:

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In SOLIDCast, the Liquidus Point and Solidus Point are designated by vertical lines, one with an L and one with an S at the top of the screen, as shown in the following picture:

As the casting solidifies, it gradually changes from a fully liquid material to a fully solid material. We depend on the flow of liquid feed metal to feed any contraction that may be occurring, to avoid shrinkage porosity in the casting. As the metal alloy becomes more and more solid, there comes a point where the liquid feed metal can no longer flow. We call this point the Critical Fraction Solid Point. It is usually expressed as a percentage of full solidification, and appears on our cooling curve as shown here:

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The significance of the Critical Fraction Solid Point can be appreciated by studying the following picture. Metal that is above the CFS Point is liquid enough to flow from one area of the casting to another, so if a section of the casting is solidifying and contracting, and the feeding path to that area from the riser is open (i.e., above CFS) then feed metal can be provided and no shrinkage should form.

On the other hand, if the feeding path has cooled below the CFS point, no feed metal can flow and you have an isolated pocket of liquid metal in the casting. As this liquid metal cools and contracts, since there is no possibility of feeding from the riser, internal shrinkage porosity is likely to form. In SOLIDCast, you can create a completely customized cooling or volume change curve by actually drawing with the mouse.

Suggested settings for Critical Fraction Solid and Niyama Points


CFS Steels: Aluminums Cast Irons Copper Alloys 60% 35% Niyama 65% 50%

See Unit 6: Customizing Curves for Cast Irons 50% 90%

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UNIT 6: Customizing Curves for Cast Irons


For ductile irons and gray irons, the system allows you to customize the cooling curves based on the specific composition of Carbon and Silicon in your alloy. You can also use one of the utility programs to calculate the CFS point and overall amount of shrinkage during solidification. Cast Iron is one of the most complex alloys in terms of how it solidifies and how volume changes affect the likelihood of shrinkage porosity. Following is a description of current thinking in regard to modeling iron castings in SOLIDCast, and how to best customize the data for your process. Alloy Selection In the standard SOLIDCast database, there are two base alloy selections for ductile iron, and three for gray iron, as follows: CI DI Ferr CI DI Pearl CI GI 3.5 CE CI GI 4.0 CE CI GI 4.4 CE These represent generic cast irons, and should be modified, as explained below, for use in your own shop. It is possible to customize these alloys for specific compositions, casting types and processes. As an example, suppose that we have a Ferritic Ductile Iron with the following composition: C Si P 3.25% 2.50% 0.03%

We would first select the CI DI Ferr material from the SOLIDCast database. Then select the Curves tab. On the Curves screen is a button labeled Ductile Iron. Clicking this button allows us to enter the C and Si content, and the amount of Mold Wall Movement, as shown below:

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In this case, 2% might represent a normal green sand mold. 2% refers to the amount of volume expansion which might be expected in the mold cavity due to mold wall movement. Harder molds will have less mold wall movement. For denser molds such as high-pressure automatic molding and small chemically-bonded sand molds, the mold wall movement would be small (0 or 1). For less dense molds such as squeezer or floor-molded green sands, the amount of mold wall movement would be higher say, 4 or 5. Clicking on the OK button produces the following curves:

In this example, the alloy is hypoeutectic. How can we tell? The shrinkage curve, after hitting the liquidus point, initially declines until a point is reached where the curve then changes direction. This means that initially, only iron is solidifying and contraction is occurring. When the eutectic point is reached, graphite begins to precipitate and the alloy begins expanding. In general, we recommend setting the CFS point at the eutectic point, and the Niyama Point about 5% to the right of the CFS. These points can be set by clicking on the buttons labeled Set Niyama Pt and Set CF Solid Pt.

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The following example shows a hypereutectic cast iron. In this case, expansion starts immediately upon solidification:

In this case we generally recommend setting the CFS point to about 20-25%, and the Niyama Point about 5% to the right of the CFS. One important consideration here is that the curve formulas which are built into the current version of SOLIDCast to predict volume changes are based on theoretical calculations for the behavior of iron and graphite in the solidification process. In practice, due to complex interactions of various phases and nucleation of graphite, volume changes may be different than these theoretical predictions. SOLIDCast now has an additional tool for prediction of volume changes in cast irons, which is based on the German VDG Nomograms for prediction of contraction/expansion. These curves are contained in a utility program called VDG.exe, which is currently a standalone program which can be run from the Desktop or from the Tools Menu.

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To run this program, go to ToolsVDG Calculator. The following screen will appear:

Here, we enter the C, Si and P contents as percentages. This approach also recognizes that castings of different section modulus will behave differently in regard to volume changes. It is necessary to enter a number for Casting Modulus on this screen. This refers to the primary casting modulus, or the one that may be most representative for the sections of interest. Note that you can have SOLIDCast calculate and display Casting Modulus by using the new Riser Design Wizard in Version 6.0 of SOLIDCast. In this example, we have entered a representative modulus of 1.25 inches. The VDG Nomograms also require an estimate of the average temperature of the iron in the mold. This is NOT the pouring temperature. In general, it could be estimated that iron loses, say 75F to 100F during the pouring process. This means that the entry here should generally be pouring temperature less 75F to 100F. After entering the above information, we click Calculate Iron Properties and see that the shrinkage time is 42.74% of total solidification time, and that the net amount of contraction is 1.67%. It is important to note that this contraction does not take into account any mold expansion. Therefore, if we expect our mold expansion to be around 2%, we should subtract this from the estimated contraction given. This means that the total amount of contraction for feeding purposes should be given by (-1.67% - 2%) = -3.67% Total Contraction

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Now, to modify the curves for these estimates, we go back to the Curves screen in SOLIDCast. First of all, we would now set the CFS point to 43%, since this is the point at which contraction ends. This is done by clicking the button labeled Set CF Solid Pt, moving the mouse cursor on the chart to the 43% Solid point, and clicking once. We would also the Niyama point to about 5% to the right of the CFS point. This would be done by clicking Set Niyama Pt and clicking on a chart location which gives 48% Solid. Next, we need to adjust the volume change curve. Click on the button labeled Draw Shrk Curve. Locate the point on the chart at which the % Solid is 43% and the amount of shrinkage is 3.7% and click one time at this point. Then click the Done button. This should produce a set of curves which appears as follows:

Now you can go to the Casting alloy screen, enter a unique name for this alloy, and click the Add to DB button to add this to your database as a customized alloy.

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Interpretation of Results Interpreting the results of a cast iron simulation generally involves looking at two different kinds of shrinkage porosity: Primary Shrinkage and Secondary Shrinkage. Primary Shrinkage Primary shrinkage is due to the liquid contraction of the alloy during the initial stages of solidification, and is predicted in SOLIDCast by using the Material Density function. This shows formation of primary shrink cavities as well as piping of risers. Critical values of Material Density are usually considered to be in the range of around 0.995. In other words, if a part of the casting has a Material Density value of less that 0.995, there should be some discernable shrinkage in the casting at that point. Secondary Shrinkage Secondary shrinkage generally occurs late in solidification, and is mainly the result of expansion pressures opening cavities within the casting. These cavities are usually found in the thermal centers of the casting. The quality of the iron will generally determine whether secondary shrinkage is a problem or not. If the iron is well inoculated and within spec for chemistry, then graphite expansion will normally continue long enough during solidification to prevent the occurrence of secondary shrinkage. However, if the iron quality is less than desirable, secondary shrinkage is more likely to occur as graphite expansion in thermal centers may not continue long enough to counteract the expansion pressure. Fluctuating iron quality usually will result in intermittent appearance of shrinkage in castings. SOLIDCast can be used to indicate thermal centers where secondary shrinkage is likely to appear. The best indication of thermal centers can be seen with the FCC Criterion. To use this after a simulation has been run, from the Simulation menu select Calculate FCC Custom Criterion, then plot the Custom-High output. When you select Custom-High, the system will display the range of FCC values, which may be different for each casting. We have found that, to establish a starting point, a good procedure is to plot about 40% of the total range as a critical value. For example, if the range is 0 to 3.6, you might start plotting at 3.6 X 0.4 = 1.44. Plotting above this number shows more severe indications, below this number would be less severe. For subsequent design iterations, use the same critical value to compare the result of one simulation to the next in order to evaluate changes.

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Riserless Castings Riserless castings are even more complex than risered castings when it comes to modeling and prediction of shrinkage. We have found that in many cases, feed metal flows from thermal centers rather than under the influence of gravity. It is possible to adjust SOLIDCast so that feed metal flows from thermal centers instead of downward under gravity influence. This can be done by creating a text file in the SOLIDCast installation folder called $FTRNS.410. This text file contains a temperature, in degrees F, at which metal flow transitions from feeding under the influence of gravity to feeding from thermal centers. In order for ALL flow to be from thermal centers, the temperature in this file should be set ABOVE the pouring temperature for the alloy. For example, if the file $FTRNS.410 contained the following: 3000 then all feed metal flow would be considered to be from thermal centers rather than downward under the influence of gravity. When using this approach, the range of Material Density values is generally different than normal. You may end up with a range of something like 0.954 1.0. To plot the predicted areas of shrinkage, plot values that are at the lower end of this range.

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UNIT 7: Selecting Mold Materials


To select materials for use in the mold, from the menu bar select Model Materials List and then click on the Mold tab. You will see a window that appears as follows:

In this screen, the materials that are available from the Material Database are shown in the lefthand window. The materials that will be available to use in a model are shown in the right-hand window. The object is to build a list of materials on the right, from the available materials on the left. To select a mold material from the database, highlight the material in the list on the LEFT side and then click on Add to list. To remove a mold material from the list, highlight the material in the list on the RIGHT side and then click on Remove from list. You can enter your own mold materials or modify the properties of mold materials by editing the fields in the lower portion of the screen.

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Note that there is an entry that says Type. There are five types of mold materials that can be simulated in SOLIDCast, as described in the following list: Normal: Exothermic: P.M. Core: Constant Temperature: Cooling Channel: This is a material that changes temperature as the simulation progresses. This is a material that burns for a period of time at constant temperature and then changes temperature. It may have an elevated ignition temperature. This is a special material used to indicate consumable cores used in permanent mold simulation. This material remains fixed at the given temperature during the simulation. This material activates a cooling (or heating) channel, under the control of either a timer or a thermocouple inserted in the mold.

You may select up to 48 different materials to use in one model.

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UNIT 8: Heat Transfer Coefficients


Heat Transfer Coefficients are values that indicate how well or how poorly heat is transferred across a SURFACE, as opposed to heat flow WITHIN a material. For most sand and investment castings, we are concerned primarily with how well heat is transferred from the exterior surface of the mold. The internal HTCs are masked by the low thermal conductivity of the mold material. In permanent mold applications, we want to model the effect of mold coatings on the die surfaces, so we TURN ON internal HTCs and enter appropriate values in the HTC table. To set Heat Transfer Coefficients, from the menu bar select Model Materials List and then click on the tab labeled HT Coefficients. The following shows a screen that would be typical for a sand casting simulation:

Here there is no check mark in the box labeled Use Internal HT Coefficients, so the system is considering only external surface HTCs. Suggested values for the external HTC for sand casting would be about 1.5 BTU/hr-sqft-F, and for investment casting would be around 8-14 BTU/hr-sqft-F.

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For permanent mold applications, we would click on the box labeled use Internal HT Coefficients, and then set HTCs between different materials as shown here:

When Use Internal HT Coefficients is selected, is necessary to specify an HTC between ALL materials in the model that are in contact. To do this, select the first material in the left-hand window, select the second material in the middle window, and then enter the HTC in the righthand window. Some suggested values for use in typical permanent mold applications are: Mold to Casting Mold to Riser External Mold Surface Water Cooling Channel Air Cooling Channel Cores to Mold Cores to Casting BTU/hr-ft2-F 800-900 350-400 6-8 225 25 150 150 W/m2-K 4500-5100 1985-2275 35-45 1275 140 850 850

The program HTCALC.EXE from the DOS version 4.20 program can be used to estimate HTC values for a number of situations, such as air and water cooling channels, convection, radiation and insulating coatings. While HTCALC.EXE is a DOS program, it can be run from Windows by navigating to the program using Explorer and double-clicking the file name.
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UNIT 9: Importing STL Files


The primary method for importing three-dimensional CAD data into SOLIDCast is through the use of STL files. STL files were originally developed for rapid prototyping (STL = STereo Lithography). They consist of a representation of the surface of a part, as a series of small triangles. Most 3D CAD systems can output an STL file of a solid model. To import an STL file into SOLIDCast, first select File New Model. Then click on the icon that is called out as Add a shape to the model:

The shape selection window will appear as shown on the next page.

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Click on the down arrow and scroll to the bottom of the list and select the STL File. The Add Shape window should look like this:

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Now that STL File has been selected, you will see a button labeled File Click on this button and navigate to the STL file that you want to load. When the file is selected, you will see its name appear under the File button. Note that you can select the Material type and also the shape priority before completing the import operation. Now click on Add Shape to import the STL file. The shape will appear in the model space, as per the following example:

Notes on importing STL files: 1. You can import multiple STL files into the same model. Each STL file can represent ONE type of material. You cannot subdivide an STL shape from a single file. Therefore, if you have cores, sleeves or chills as STL shapes, each DIFFERENT MATERIAL TYPE must be contained in a different STL file. 2. The Add Shape window remains on the screen until you click on the Close button. This makes it easy to import several STL files, one after the other. When you first click on the File button, the system will look into the folder specified under System Parameters to find STL files. If you navigate to a different folder and load an STL file from that folder, then without closing the Add Shape window you can again press the File button to go directly to that same folder to add another STL file.
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3. STL files may be in inches or mm. There is no code in the STL file which indicates whether the file is in inches or mm. Therefore, you may sometimes need to load an STL file and view its dimensions in order to determine whether it has been properly interpreted. For example, suppose that in System Parameters, you have Metric Units turned off, which means that you are working in inches. You load an STL file for a part that you know to be about 10 inches in length. After loading and doing a Zoom Full, you switch to an orthogonal view (XY, XZ or YZ) and, by looking at the coordinates at the bottom of the screen as you move the mouse, you determine that the system thinks that this part is about 254 inches in length. This would indicate that the STL file was in mm. At this point, you need to delete this shape, and import the STL file again; this time, however, PRIOR TO SELECTING THE FILE, on the Add Shape Window, under the label STL File Units, click mm. This will cause the system to assume that the STL file dimensions are in mm, and they will be converted to inches as part of the process of being imported. Of course, the opposite scenario may be true if you are working in Metric units and are importing an STL file that was created in inches. 4. There is also a stand-alone utility that can scale a SOLIDCast model. This may also be useful to correct an error of interpretation. For example, suppose that your system is set to English Units and you import STL files which are in mm, but do not tell the system to convert them. SOLIDCast will then interpret the dimensions as inches. Your model will then be much larger than actual size. You could user the SCALER.EXE utility program to scale the model down to the correct size (in the case, the scale factor would be 0.03937), without having to start over with the import operations. This would be quite useful if the model contained multiple STL files. For complete instructions on using this utility see Unit 46: Stand Alone Utilities. 5. STL files may be created with different levels of tolerance. A tight tolerance results in a large file with many small surface facets. These files take a long time to load and display. A looser tolerance results in fewer and larger surface facets. These files load quickly. It is a good idea to use looser tolerances. You can roughly estimate the number of surface facets in an STL by dividing the file size, in bytes, by 50. MOST commercial castings can be well represented with 20,000 or fewer surface facets. The model shown on the previous page used about 4,700 surface facets. Models in excess of 50,000 or 60,000 surface facets will begin to show a degradation in loading and response time in the system. 6. Some systems can produce both Binary and ASCII STL files. Use Binary files, since they are smaller and will load and edit faster than ASCII files. At the present time SOLIDCast will only recognize Binary STL files. There is, however, an ASCII to Binary STL conversion utility program, STLCONVERT.EXE, included with the stand-alone utilities. See Unit 46, Stand Alone Utilities, for full instructions on using this program.

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UNIT 10: Basic Geometric Shapes


SOLIDCast allows you to create basic geometric shapes that can be part of a casting model. Some simple castings may be created entirely with this type of shape. In other cases, it may be feasible to use basic shapes such as cylinders to add risers to a casting model. It is possible to add this type of shape to a model of a casting that was imported as an STL file. The basic geometric shapes consist of the following types: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Rectangular Solid Solid Cylinder Aligned with the X Axis Solid Cylinder Aligned with the Y Axis Solid Cylinder Aligned with the Z Axis Hollow Cylinder Aligned with the X Axis Hollow Cylinder Aligned with the Y Axis Hollow Cylinder Aligned with the Z Axis Sphere

These shapes are parameterized in SOLIDCast. This means that, to create these shapes, you enter parameters such as the length and radius of a cylinder. Also, you can adjust these parameters by selecting a shape and editing the shape after it has been created; for example, you can adjust the radius of a cylinder by selecting it, selecting Edit Edit Selected Shape(s) and then modifying the value of the cylinder radius. The alignment of cylinders refers to the initial position of the cylinder when it is created within the model space. You can subsequently adjust the position and orientation of any shape in a model by selecting it, and editing it using the Move or Rotate commands. To add a shape to a model, you must first have a model showing in the model window, or be starting a new model. To begin creating a new model, select Model New Model from the main menu. Then click on the Add a shape to the model icon as shown here:

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The following shape creation window will appear:

By default, the first type of shape that is displayed is a rectangular block. By clicking on the down arrow next to Rectangular Block on this screen, the various types of shapes will be displayed, as follows:

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To select a shape type, just click on the appropriate type of shape as displayed. For example, suppose that you want to create a rectangular shape that measures 8 inches in the X direction, 6 inches in the Y direction, and 2 inches in the Z (vertical) direction. To do this, you would select Rectangular Block and then fill in the appropriate fields, as follows:

Notice that the first three entries specify where the lower corner of the rectangular shape will appear (in this case, at the origin point (0,0,0)). You can also specify the Priority and the Material Type before creation of the shape (these can always be adjusted later by editing the shape). After making the correct entries on this screen, click on the button labeled Add Shape. The following shape will appear on the screen:

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If you already have other shapes in the model, you can specify the X, Y, Z coordinates of the Lower Corner by clicking a point on an existing shape. For example, if you were creating a rectangular chill to put on a casting surface, once you have the Rectangular Block Shape Type displayed, move the cursor to the point at which you want the chill to start and click the left mouse button. This will enter those coordinates into the Lower Corner boxes. An example of this is shown at the end of this section. As another example, suppose that you wanted to create a hollow cylinder (such as might be used to represent a sleeve around a riser). You would select Add a shape to the model, and then from the list select Hollow Cylinder Z (this refers to a hollow cylinder whose axis is parallel to the Z, or vertical, axis). Suppose that you wanted the bottom center of the cylinder to be positioned at the point (X=3, Y=0, Z=1.5), the inner radius to be 3 inches, the outer radius to be 3.5 inches and the length to be 9 inches. You would make the following entries on the screen:

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Clicking on the Add Shape button will create this shape, as follows:

The following image shows an example of each type of basic geometric shape:

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A new feature added in version 6.1 of SOLIDCast is the ability to enter information for a plate, cylinder, hollow cylinder or sphere by clicking on the surface of an existing shape in the Model Building window. For example, you may want to enter the starting point for a chill by clicking on the surface of the casting where the chill will be located. First, click on the Add a shape to the model icon to open the Add Shape window, as shown here:

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Then click on the desired location on the casting. The x, y, z coordinates of the place you clicked will be added to the lower corner x, y and z for the rectangular block, as shown here:

Mouse clicking will add the X, Y and Z coordinates to the Bottom Center X, Y and Z fields in the Cylinder, Hollow Cylinder and Sphere shape types.

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UNIT 11: Revolved and Extruded Shapes


In addition to basic geometric shapes and importing of three-dimensional STL files, SOLIDCast allows you to create three-dimensional shapes that are formed by revolving or extruding twodimensional shapes (flat cross sections). These two-dimensional shapes may be contained in FILES, or alternatively you can SKETCH shapes on the screen, using the mouse. If you are importing two-dimensional shapes from FILES, these files can be either of two types: 1. AFSCad files 2. DXF files AFSCad files are drawing files that are created by the AFSCad program, which is a 2D drawing program included with Version 4.20 of the AFS Solidification System (3D), which was the DOS forerunner of SOLIDCast. While not a Windows application, AFSCad can be run in a DOS window. DXF files are drawing files that can be created by almost any CAD system. To use a DXF file, you would create the 2D cross section of the casting in your CAD system and save this as a DXF file, then import the file into SOLIDCast to create a solid of revolution or extrusion. SOLIDCast will interpret DXF files that have been created using lines, circles and arcs. DXF files may also be created using the Digitizer Input function in Version 4.20. This function allows you to trace a cross section of a casting from a scaled drawing or blueprint, and then create a DXF file that can be imported into SOLIDCast for extrusion or revolution. Note that when you import a 2D shape, the coordinates of that 2D shape determine where it will be located in 3D space. For example, if you have a circle centered on the point (X=2.5,Y=4.0) in a 2D drawing, and then import this drawing to make an extrusion in the Z direction, the resulting shape will still be centered on the point (X=2.5,Y=4.0) in 3D space. This is how objects can be correctly located when they are imported into SOLIDCast for extrusion or revolution. A drawing file (whether in AFSCad or DXF format) must contain ONLY ONE complete cross section for the purpose of creating a solid of revolution or extrusion. The cross section must be fully enclosed, i.e., there should be no gaps or crossovers in the cross section. If you have multiple 2D shapes that are required in order to make a complete casting model, each 2D shape must be stored in a different file.

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An extrusion refers to the creation of a shape that has a constant cross section. The ends of the extrusion are parallel. In SOLIDCast, you can create an extrusion parallel to the X axis, the Y axis or the Z axis. Examples of each are shown here:

Solids of revolution are created by rotating a two-dimensional cross section about an axis of revolution. The axis may be parallel to the X axis, the Y axis or the Z axis, as shown here:

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Creating Extruded Shapes from AFSCad and DXF Files To create a solid of extrusion, you must have a model displayed or a blank model space showing (select Model New Model from the main menu to create a blank model space). Then click on the icon that means Add a new shape to the model (you can see the icon labels if you pass the mouse over the icons on the toolbar). You will see the following screen appear:

Click on the down arrow next to the highlighted name Rectangular Block, and then move down the list until the extruded shapes appear as follows:

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If you select one of the extruded shapes, you will see the following appear:

Extruded Shape X has been selected. This indicates that a 2D shape will be extruded parallel to the X axis. The system wants to know the length of the extrusion, which is given by entering the X value at the start of the extruded shape, and the X value at the end of the extruded shape. For example, if an extrusion starts at X=1.5 and ends at X=10, then the length of the extruded shape will be 8.5. When an Extruded Shape X is selected, the system will automatically adjust the view so that you are viewing the model in the YZ view. When selecting Extruded Shape, the view is automatically adjusted as follows: Extruded Shape X Extruded Shape Y Extruded Shape Z YZ View XZ View XY View

You will notice that, when you select Extruded Shape X, the toolbar at the top of the screen changes and appears as follows:

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In order to indicate to the system that you will be loading a 2D file (either a DXF file or an AFSCad drawing file) click on the toolbar button labeled dxf/adg. You will see a window that appears as follows:

This window now allows you to select a file (DXF or AFSCad) from which to load the 2D shape. Click on the Browse button on this window. Another window will open which lets you select an AFSCad file (or a DXF file), as follows:

This window initially opens into the folder that is specified under System Parameters for Import Files. You can search through different folders using standard Windows navigating techniques. You can also search for DXF files by clicking on the down arrow next to the label Files of type, as shown on the next page.

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By selecting DXF Files you can then browse through any DXF files that you want to load. After highlighting a file, click on the Open button. This will then bring you back to the preceding window, and it will appear similar to the following:

The overall dimensions of the shape (in two directions) are given on this screen. The system displays (in inches or millimeters) what it believes to be the dimensions of this shape. If the dimensions are incorrect, it may be because the shape was saved in millimeters and the system is interpreting the dimensions as inches, or vice versa. In this case, you can click on the button labeled Interpret as mm and the dimensions will be converted. When this occurs, the button label changes to Interpret as inches. Each time you click this button, it toggles back and forth between interpreting the file as inches or mm. When you are satisfied that the correct shape file has been selected, and the dimensions are correctly interpreted, then click on the OK button. The 2D shape will be displayed on the screen along with the Add Shape window as shown on the next page.

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You can now go ahead and fill in the remainder of the data for the shape. For example, if the extruded shape begins at Y=0.0 and ends at X=8.0, then fill in the Minimum Y and Maximum Y entries as follows:

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Now click on the Add Shape button. This will create the extruded shape. Note that you need to click on the Close button to get rid of the Add Shape window. In this case, after creating the shape and changing the view using the Free Rotating Isometric View, this shape would appear as follows:

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Creating Revolved Shapes from AFSCad and DXF Files To create a solid of revolution, you must have a model displayed or a blank model space showing (select Model New Model from the main menu to create a blank model space). Then click on the icon that means Add a new shape to the model (you can see the icon labels if you pass the mouse over the icons on the toolbar). You will see the following screen appear:

Now click on the down arrow next to the highlighted name Rectangular Block, and then move down the list until the revolved shapes appear as follows:

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If you select one of the revolved shapes, you will see the following appear:

In this screen, the Revolved Shape Z has been selected. This indicates that a 2D shape will be revolved about the Z axis. This shape may be a 2D shape viewed in the XZ plane, or a 2D shape viewed in the YZ plane. The system needs to know the Starting and Ending Angles of Revolution (in degrees) and the X Axis and the Y Axis of the center of revolution. For example, a shape that is fully round will start at 0 degrees and end at 360 degrees. If the Axis of Revolution is centered on the datum point of space, then the X Axis would be 0 and the Y Axis would be 0. When a Revolved Shape Z is selected, the system will automatically adjust the view so that you are viewing the model in the XZ view. When selecting a Revolved Shape, the system will automatically switch to one of the orthogonal views, but the tool bar at the top of the screen will be adjusted so that you can switch to one of two orthogonal views. The views that are allowed for each type of Revolved Shape are as follows: Revolved Shape X Revolved Shape Y Revolved Shape Z XZ View or XY View YZ View or XY View XZ View or YZ View

You will notice that, when you select Revolved Shape Z, the toolbar at the top of the screen changes and appears as follows:

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You will note that this toolbar allows you ONLY to switch between the two views XZ and XY. If the 2D shape represents a section taken in the XZ view, then stay with the XZ view. If the 2D shape is a section taken in the YZ view, then switch to this view. In order to indicate to the system that you will be loading a 2D file (either a DXF file or an AFSCad drawing file) click on the toolbar button labeled dxf/adg. You will see a window that appears as follows:

This window now allows you to select a file (DXF or AFSCad) from which to load the 2D shape. Click on the Browse button on this window. Another window will open which lets you select an AFSCad file (or a DXF file), as follows:

This window initially opens into the folder that is specified under System Parameters for Import Files. You can search through different folders using standard Windows navigating techniques. You can also search for DXF files by clicking on the down arrow next to the label Files of type, as shown on the next page.

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By selecting DXF Files you can then browse through any DXF files that you want to load. After highlighting a file, click on the Open button. This will then bring you back to the preceding window, and it will appear similar to the following:

The overall dimensions of the shape (in two directions) are given on this screen. The system displays (in inches or millimeters) what it believes to be the dimensions of this shape. If the dimensions are incorrect, it may be because the shape was saved in millimeters and the system is interpreting the dimensions as inches, or vice versa. In this case, you can click on the button labeled Interpret as mm and the dimensions will be converted. When this occurs, the button label changes to Interpret as inches. Each time you click this button, it toggles back and forth between interpreting the file as inches or mm. When you are satisfied that the correct shape file has been selected, and the dimensions are correctly interpreted, then click on the OK button. The 2D shape will be displayed on the screen along with the Add Shape window as shown on the next page.

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You can now go ahead and fill in the remainder of the data for the shape. For example, the shape data may appear as follows:

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Now click on the Add Shape button. This will create the revolved shape. Note that you need to click on the Close button to get rid of the Add Shape window. In this case, after creating the shape and changing the view using the Free Rotating Isometric View, this shape would appear as follows:

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Creating Solids of Extrusion and Revolution by Sketching with the Mouse In SOLIDCast you can create a 2D shape by sketching with the mouse on the screen, and then create an extrusion or revolution with the sketched shape. You can control the mouse location more accurately if you set the Snap to Grid setting under Tools System Parameters. For example, if you set this to 0.25 and you are working in inches, you will be able to draw to the nearest 0.25 inch on the screen. To start the process of sketching a shape, you must first select one of the extruded or revolved solids from the Add Shape function. For example, to create an extrusion in the X direction, first click on the icon that means Add a new shape to the model (you can see the icon labels if you pass the mouse over the icons on the toolbar). You will see the following screen appear:

Now click on the down arrow next to the highlighted name Rectangular Block, and then move down the list until the extruded shapes appear as shown following:

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If you select Extruded Shape X, the screen will appear as follows:

Notice that, when an Extruded Shape X is selected, the system will automatically adjust the view so that you are viewing the model in the YZ view. When selecting Extruded Shape, the view is automatically adjusted as follows: Extruded Shape X Extruded Shape Y Extruded Shape Z YZ View XZ View XY View

Now you can begin drawing with the mouse, in the clear model space to the right of the Add Shape window (you can drag the Add Shape window to the side if it is in the way). Notice that the mouse coordinates (Y and Z) appear at the bottom of the screen. To begin drawing a shape, just click with the mouse. Once you start clicking, you will notice that the toolbar at the top of the screen has changed again. While you are sketching, it appears as follows:

The icon with the Check Mark indicates that you are finished sketching the shape. The icon to the left is used to delete the previous line drawn.
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When sketching a shape, you are actually drawing a series of straight lines on the screen. The starting point is the first point where you click. As you click on additional points, a series of lines will be drawn. The sketching process may appear as follows:

You do NOT need to draw the last line to close the figure. When you are finished sketching, click on the Check Mark icon at the top of the screen. This will close the last line drawn back to the starting point, and the screen will then appear as follows:

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At this point, you need only to fill in the shape parameter data and click on the Add Shape button. This will create the 3D extruded shape in the model space. One fairly common use for shape sketching is to place chills on a casting model. For example, suppose we wanted to add a series of cast-to-shape curved chills around the outer perimeter of the following casting (this is a round casting that is centered on (0,0)):

We could start by changing to the XZ view and then zoom on a portion of the casting in order to see that portion in more detail:

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We would then select Add Shape, and select Revolved Shape Z. Assuming that we had the Snap to Grid setting at 0.25 inches so that we could draw accurately, we could then draw a rectangular cross section of a chill as shown in the following picture:

Clicking on the Check Mark icon finishes the shape, as follows:

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Selecting a starting angle of 5 degrees and an ending angle of 5 degrees defines a chill that extends 10 degrees around the circumference. We also select a Chill Material (say, Cast Iron mold material) for this shape. Once these selections have been made, the chill appears as follows:

Now it is possible to Edit this one shape, perform a Ring Copy around the point (0,0) and make a copy, say, every 30 degrees around the casting. The end result of this operation would appear as follows:

We now have 12 chills equally spaced around the perimeter of the casting.
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As an example of creating a casting shape using solids of revolution and extrusion, consider the following 2D figures that were created in a CAD system and saved in DXF format, which is available in virtually any 2D CAD system today: Saved in file Y-1.DXF:

Saved in file Y-2.DXF:

Saved in file Y-3.DXF:

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The process of creating a casting model from these shapes would be as follows; First, select File New Model. Then select Add a shape to the model, select Revolved Shape Z, select the DXF file called Y-1.DXF, specify a revolution of 0 to 360 degrees, leave the center of revolution at X=0, Y=0, and then click on Add Shape. The first shape will appear as follows:

Now we will add an extrusion to this shape. Select Add a shape to the model, select Extruded Shape Z, select the DXF file called Y-2.DXF, set the extrusion from 0 to 1 inch, and click on Add Shape. The second shape will appear as follows:

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Now we can add the third shape as a revolved shape. To do this, select Add a shape to the model, select Revolved Shape Z, select the DXF file called Y-3.DXF, specify a revolution of 0 to 360 degrees, set the X coordinate of the center of revolution to 6.000 inches, and then click on Add Shape. The third shape will appear as shown following:

Now we can duplicate the second and third shape by a Copy operation (see the section of Editing/Copying for details). Select both the second and third shapes (by depressing the Selection arrow, holding down on Ctrl and clicking both of these shapes) then select Edit Copy Selected Shape(s) and specify a Ring Copy about the Z axis with (0,0) at the center, with three copies at 90 degrees. This will produce the following final model for this casting:

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UNIT 12: Display Controls


In SOLIDCast, the display controls are located as icons across the top of the model window. These display controls appear in a bar as follows:

The meanings of these icons are as follows: Switches between a shaded rendered view and a wire-frame view of the casting. Toggles the background between black and white. Centers the model in the current window. Reverses the current 2D view. From top to bottom, front to back, or side to side. Displays an XZ view of the casting model (this is the default view when you load a file). Displays a YZ view of the casting model. Displays an XY view (looking down) of the casting model. Allows the user to freely rotate the casting model to any orientation, by using the mouse with the right button depressed. Add a shape to the casting model. Select a shape to hide or delete. Move the model on the screen by clicking on two points. Zoom on a portion of the model by drawing a box around the portion to be zoomed. Zoom up or down a fixed percentage.

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Example Views:

XZ View

YZ View

XY View

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UNIT 13: Generating a Mesh


Once you have a model loaded and materials selected, the next step before running a simulation is to generate a mesh. This is done by selecting Model Create Mesh from the menu bar. If this is the first mesh created for this model, the system will request that you enter a Project Name for this casting. Subsequent model revisions, meshes and simulations can all be stored under this Project Name. The system will display the following:

Enter a project name and click on OK. Next the system will display the meshing screen. This is where you describe how the mesh is to be generated, and it may appear as follows:

Here you can enter a descriptive name for the mesh. You can also select either the Number of Nodes (elements) or the size of the Nodes (in inches or mm). Generally, most simulations are run with between 500,000 and 2,000,000 elements. A chunky casting will generally require fewer elements, while a thin-section casting will require more elements. The maximum number of elements allowed depends on the amount of installed RAM.

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The system will automatically create a mold around the casting if you want it to. (Note: You can create the mold as part of the model, in which case you would NOT use the automatic mold creation feature.) You have three options here: Rectangular Shell None If you are going to have the system create a mold, you can select the Mold Material, the Mold Thickness (this is the minimum thickness in the case of a rectangular mold, or the shell thickness in the case of a shell mold) and also whether or not the top of the mold is to be considered open. After making these selections, click on OK. The system will first mesh the casting model and display the mesh as it is being created, as seen here:

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Next, the system will mesh the mold around the casting, as shown below (in this case, a rectangular mold):

When the meshing process is complete, the mesh name will appear on the project tree on the SOLIDCast main screen.

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UNIT 14: Weight Calculations


To calculate weights, you must have previously meshed a model. The mesh name appears on the project tree on the left side of the screen, as shown below:

To perform a weight calculation, highlight the mesh name and select Mesh Weights. The following window will appear:

Note: To obtain a highly accurate weight estimate for a casting, you can create a mesh with no mold material and a high number of nodes. This may often be the first step in developing cost for a casting.

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UNIT 15: View Factor Calculations


When castings are made by the investment casting or permanent mold process, a considerable amount of heat is lost from the surface of the hot shell or die in the form of radiation. The amount of radiant heat loss varies according to whether various surfaces face the ambient surroundings or other shell or die surfaces. When facing other shell or die surfaces, the temperature difference is smaller and the amount of radiant heat loss is less. This variation in radiant heat loss can be simulated by a process of applying View Factor calculations to the mesh. The View Factor Calculation takes into account the visibility of all shell or die surfaces to all other shell or die surfaces as well as the surrounding environment, and adjusts the conditions at each surface accordingly. View Factor Calculations are applied to a mesh, AFTER a model has been meshed. As an example, consider the following model of an investment casting with two castings on a tree:

The first step in the View Factor Calculation is to select ModelMaterials List and click on the HT Coefficients tab. The value that you place in the External HT Coefficient box will be the high value used for radiation heat transfer. This number is related to the temperature of the shell

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or die, and is typically about 5-7 BTU/hr-sq ft-F for permanent mold dies and 10-14 for investment shells. Once the External HTC is set, mesh the model by clicking on ModelCreate Mesh. Meshing this example casting with a shell mold results in the following investment shell:

Now, having created the shell by meshing, we can apply the View Factor Calculation to take into account the variation in radiation heat exchange around the surface of the shell. To do this, we first click on the Mesh icon on the project tree to highlight the mesh. Then, on the menu bar at the top of the window, select Mesh and then View Factor Calculation. The calculation will be performed and displayed as shown on the next page.

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In this view, the dark areas are areas of the shell that are losing heat most rapidly due to a high rate of radiant heat exchange with the surroundings. The lighter areas are those that see mainly other portions of the shell, and those areas are losing heat more slowly as they exchange radiant heat with those other portions of the shell. After having performed the View Factor Calculation, you can go on to the next step and run a simulation. The View Factor adjustments are now built into the mesh. By the way, multiple View Factor Calculations will not change the mesh. So, if you cant remember whether you did the calculation or not, select it to be on the safe side. In the same way, the View Factor Calculation can be applied to a permanent mold casting. The view factors are applied to every surface in contact with ambient conditions, so it doesnt matter if the die/shell is created as a part of the model, or by meshing. In general, View Factor Calculations are of limited use in sand casting simulations and would not be applied to such a model.

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UNIT 16: Running a Simulation


To run a simulation, you must have previously created a mesh. The mesh name will appear on the project tree on the left side of the SOLIDCast main screen. Highlight this mesh name, then from the menu bar select Mesh Start Simulation. The following window will appear:

You can select to run either a single cycle (such as a sand or investment casting) or a multiplecycle permanent mold simulation. If you have added Fill Material to a model and if you have the FLOWCast Fluid Flow module installed, you will have a box labeled Fill Algorithm, and will have the choice of using the simple SOLIDCast fill algorithm, or the FLOWCast Quick or FLOWCast Full algorithms. You can also select the criterion that the system uses to stop the simulation and consider it to be complete. The most common stop criterion is for the system to end the simulation when the casting and risers are 100% solid. To start the simulation running, click on OK.

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If you selected the SOLIDCast fill algorithm, you will see a graphic picture of the casting filling while the simulation is running, such as in the following image:

Once filling is complete, the display will switch over to a summary screen, showing the relative temperatures in the model and other information. If you have unchecked the box in System Parameters that controls the graphic display during simulation, you will see a text screen which lists a summary of simulation progress. A sample simulation screen is shown here:

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You can minimize the windows associated with the simulation and use the computer for other programs such as word processing while the simulation is running. Once the simulation is complete, you are ready to start plotting results.

Stopping and Restarting Simulations


In order to stop a simulation such that partial results can be plotted, or so that the simulation can later be restarted from the same point and completed, it is necessary to view the project tree that the simulation is running. When you run a simulation, you will notice that two windows appear. One window is titled LASTIT (this is the window pictured on the previous page) and the other is titled SIM5QW. In order to view the project tree, you need to minimize both of these windows. This can be done by clicking on the Minimize button (the button with a short horizontal line) in the upper right corner of each of these windows. This will minimize these windows so that they appear on the Windows Task Bar, and the SOLIDCast window with the model and the project tree will appear on the screen. This may appear as follows:

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On the project tree, which appears on the left side of this screen, you will see an entry for this simulation. To stop the simulation, double-click on the icon next to the simulation on the project tree. A window similar to the following will appear:

To stop the simulation, click on the button labeled Stop Sim. This will cause the simulation to stop, and the system will create data that can be plotted to show whatever results are available. Note that at this point it is possible to exit from the SOLIDCast system without losing any data. At any later point in time, it will be possible to load the project and restart the simulation to allow it to continue to completion. To restart a simulation, double-click on the simulation icon on the project tree. You will see a window similar to the following:

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By clicking on the button labeled Restart Sim, the simulation will be restarted and will run from the point at which it was interrupted. Note that if you plot intermediate data from an interrupted simulation, the data may be incomplete and the plots may appear to be incomplete. For example, plotting Solidification Time for the above incomplete simulation shows the following result (Note: See following units for details on how to plot Solidification Time):

This plot obviously has some data missing, due to the fact that the simulation has not completed, and only partial data is available. However, this type of image may often be enough to establish a general idea of what is happening inside the casting, and may be used to obtain a preliminary answer as to whether a given rigging design appears to be working. Sometimes this may be enough to evaluate a design and indicate whether a redesign is necessary, before a simulation has completely finished.

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UNIT 17: Plotting Results Using Iso-Surfaces


An Iso-Surface is a three-dimensional surface inside the casting model that displays where certain output data has a particular value. This means that you are plotting ONE VALUE of the selected type of output data. To plot an Iso-Surface, first double-click on the Simulation icon on the project tree, in the SOLIDCast main screen. This will display a window similar to the following:

This shows some general information about the simulation that was run. Click on the Close button. Now, at the menu bar select Simulation Plot Iso Surface. A window similar to the following will appear:

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The type of data to be plotted is indicated in the window under the label Select Data Type. Click on the down arrow next to this field, and you will see some additional selections. As an example, here we will select Solidification Time. When you click on this selection, the window will appear as follows:

Here, the system is indicating that the minimum solidification time in the casting is .383 minutes (i.e., the first point in the casting finished freezing at .383 minutes) and the very last point solidified at 21.9 minutes. Under the label Plot This Value: is a field where we can enter a value to plot. For this example, a value of 10 minutes has been entered. At this point, you would click on OK, and the following would appear:

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The shapes inside the casting represent the locations of metal that had not yet completely solidified as of 10 minutes. All of the metal outside these shapes has solidified prior to 10 minutes. By changing and re-plotting Iso-Surfaces at various values, it is possible to get a good idea of how solidification progressed within this casting. Note: If you have a model meshed at a high node count and there are a lot of nodes within the casting, generation of Iso-Surfaces may take a long time. It is possible to decrease this time by changing the parameter called Surface Detail. This creates a surface with slightly less detail, but one that takes much less time to generate. Surface Detail is adjusted as shown following:

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One notch of adjustment on Surface Detail will make a considerable difference in the time to create an Iso-Surface within a casting model. Note: This plot can also be used to create an animated movie. Instructions for making movies are given in Unit 37.

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UNIT 18: Plotting Results Using Cut Planes


Cut Plane plotting involves showing simulation results on a 2D plane cut through the casting. To plot a Cut Plane, first double-click on the Simulation icon on the project tree, in the SOLIDCast main screen. Now, at the menu bar select Simulation Plot Cut Plane. A window similar to the following will appear:

You can select a cut plane in either the XY, XZ or YZ orthogonal planes. Also, as with IsoSurfaces, you can select any of the various types of output data to plot. The system shows you the minimum and maximum values of the selected data. In the small windows you can enter plot ranges to create the cut plane plot. These plot ranges must be within the Min and Max Values as shown.

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The following example shows a Cut Plane plot of Critical Fraction Solid Time within the casting and riser, in the XY orientation:

You can move the cut plane within the model, by moving the slider bar or clicking on the left or right arrows. You can also click on a point on this image and display all of the available data about that point below the image.

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Another example Cut Plane plot shows temperature distribution within both the cast material and the mold material:

Here the diffusion of heat into the sand mold can be seen clearly. Note: This plot can also be used to create an animated movie. Instructions for making movies are given in Unit 37.

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UNIT 19: Plotting Results Using CastPic


CastPic is a function that can create a detailed, three-dimensional image of the casting with result data plotted onto the image as a range of colors. This function can show the whole casting or section the image to show internal details in the casting. To make a CastPic image, first double-click on the Simulation icon on the project tree, in the SOLIDCast main screen. Now, at the menu bar select Simulation CastPic Plot. A window similar to the following will appear:

You can accept the Min and Max values as the values to plot, or enter new ones to change what the range of color in the plot indicates. Clicking on OK on the above window produces the following image showing temperature of the casting:

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The angle of view of this image is the SAME as the angle of view of the model in the current model window. A selection which would produce a cut plane through this model at a value of Y=0.000 would be as follows:

This would produce the following CastPic image:

In this image, the casting has been sectioned to reveal internal details.

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UNIT 20: Output Criteria: Solidification Time


Solidification Time shows the time, in minutes, for each part of the casting to become COMPLETELY solid, i.e., to cool to the Solidus Point. Viewing a plot of Solidification Time shows the progress of solidification through the casting. This can help to locate isolated areas of molten metal within the casting and to get a general idea of progressive solidification in various areas of the casting.

For most alloys, you are looking for a good progression of solidification, from the edges of the casting, out through the riser contacts and into the risers. If any area becomes isolated, it is an area that will be prone to shrinkage.

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UNIT 21: Output Criteria: Critical Fraction Solid Time


Critical Fraction Solid Time records the time, in minutes, for each part of the casting to reach the Critical Fraction Solid Point. This is the point at which the alloy is solid enough that liquid feed metal can no longer flow. Therefore, for judging directionality of solidification, and whether any isolated areas have formed within the casting that cannot be fed by risers, Critical Fraction Solid Time is generally a better indication than Solidification Time. Plotting Critical Fraction Solid Time gives a good indication of whether any contraction that forms will be able to be fed by liquid feed metal within the risers or feeders.

The areas that appear as isolated pools of molten metal will not be able to receive feed metal from the risers if any contraction should occur during cooling and solidification. This plot is interpreted in the same manner as Solidification Time. That is, you want a good progression from the edges of the casting, in towards the riser contacts, and out into the risers themselves.

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UNIT 22: Output Criteria: Material Density Function


The Material Density Function is the result of a calculation in which the contraction of the casting, and resulting flow of liquid feed metal, is taken into account during solidification. Areas that have metal removed due to feeding liquid metal to other areas of the casting will show up as having lower Material Density numbers. In this way, potential shrinkage can be predicted. The Material Density Function is a number that can vary from 0 to 1. It is a measure of how much of the metal remains at each point in the model. A value of 0 means that the metal has been completely drained from that part of the casting; a value of 1 indicates completely sound metal. The Material Density Function therefore should be interpreted as follows: Value = 0 Value = 0.90 Value = 0.99 Value = 1.0 0% Metal 90% Metal 99% Metal 100% Metal 100% Porosity 10% Porosity 1% Porosity 0% Porosity

In general, we have found that values in the range of .995-.990 and below are areas of detectable shrinkage porosity in castings. The Material Density Function is a measure of macroporosity and is MOST useful in ferrous castings. In non-ferrous alloys, especially aluminum, it can be used to predict gross macroporosity, but structural microporosity due to poor or stagnant solidification can best be predicted by other criteria such as Niyama or the FCC Custom Criterion.

Indications show areas of likely shrinkage porosity in the casting.

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UNIT 23: Output Criteria: Temperature Gradient


Temperature Gradient is a measure of how much change in temperature there is as you go from point to point within a casting. A high temperature gradient means that there is a large temperature change within a short distance within the casting. A low temperature gradient means a small change in temperature from one point to the next. Temperature Gradient is calculated at each node within the casting as that point hits the Niyama Point on the cooling curve. Temperature Gradient is always calculated in C per centimeter. Temperature Gradient can be used to get an idea of whether there was good or poor directional solidification at various points within the casting. In general, higher temperature gradients are good, as steeper temperature gradients mean a greater driving force for solidification.

The disadvantage of Temperature Gradient is that each casting ends up with a different range of values, depending on geometry, and it is hard to compare one casting with the next. In the figure above, the brightest areas indicate those areas with the lowest temperature gradients, and the poorest directional solidification.

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UNIT 24: Output Criteria: Cooling Rate


Cooling Rate is a measure of how quickly a casting is cooling down, in C per minute, measured at each point in the casting as that point hits the Niyama Point on the cooling curve. Cooling Rate can be an indication of material quality. Areas of the casting that cool rapidly generally have a more favorable grain structure, with less deposition of partially-soluble compounds at the grain boundaries. Therefore, these areas tend to have better material properties such as strength, elongation and hardness. Those areas of the casting that cool more slowly generally tend to have poorer material properties.

The plot above shows the areas of the casting with the lowest cooling rates. It is possible to correlate cooling rates with material properties. One useful method for this plot is to find out what minimum cooling rate is required to achieve, for example, a given hardness. Then, plot cooling rate, using this minimum value as a boundary. Your plot, then, will only highlight those areas with cooling rates below your established minimum.

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UNIT 25: Output Criteria: The Niyama Criterion


The Niyama Criterion is a function based on Temperature Gradient and Cooling Rate. The criterion was developed by Dr. Niyama, a Japanese researcher studying shrinkage prediction in steel. Niyama found that the Temperature Gradient divided by the square root of the Cooling Rate corresponded to the presence of shrinkage porosity in steel castings. The lower the value, the higher the probability of shrinkage. If this number were 1 or above there was little or no shrinkage porosity in the castings. Niyama has been used extensively for shrinkage prediction in castings, until the use of more advanced calculations such as the Material Density Function. The Niyama Criterion has been extended to alloys other than steel. Niyama is basically a prediction of directional solidification. Poor directional solidification is represented by a value of 0, good directional solidification by higher values. Ranges of critical numbers are: Steels: Cast Irons: Aluminum: Copper Base 0 0 0 0 1 0.75 0.30 1.30

The general idea is that the lower the value of Niyama, the worse the potential for shrinkage. A value of 0 is the highest probability of shrinkage, and as the value increases, the severity of the probable porosity decreases. Above the critical number, probability of porosity is low. Niyama plots need interpretation, because they give low values in many areas where temperature gradients are low but shrinkage might not be likely, such as at the centerline of thin-wall areas and at the dividing line between the feeding areas of two risers. Also, Niyama is based only on heat transfer and does not take the effect of gravity into account. For most ferrous materials, Material Density (which DOES take gravity into account) is generally a better indicator. Niyama, however, is still used heavily in many non-ferrous applications (typically in aluminum alloys).

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UNIT 26: Output Criteria: Hot Spots


Hot Spot plotting is a function in SOLIDCast that locates thermal centers or hot spots within the casting by comparing solidification times or critical fraction solid times of points within local areas. The range of values is always 0 to 10, and generally the value plotted is around 1.1 or 1.2 (a value of 1.0 indicates an area of stagnant solidification). You can plot Hot Spots based either on Solidification Time or based on Critical Fraction Solid Time.

To figure hot spot values, the system compares either the solidification time, or the critical fraction solid(CFS) time of each metal node to its neighbors. If it froze later than its neighbors, it is an isolated area, or a hot spot. The system keeps track of the differences in time, then orders them from the greatest isolation on up. All isolated areas are normalized to the range of 0-1, where 0 is most isolated, and 1 is stagnant, that is, froze at the same time as neighbors. Nonisolated areas are ordered, then normalized to the range of 1-10, where 1 is stagnant and 10 is most directional. By plotting at a level of 1, you can see actual isolation locations. If you plot at 1.1 or 1.2, you may be able to see these locations more clearly, since they will cover a greater volume. The hot spot plot does not give an indication of the severity of the defect, as it does not take contraction/expansion into account. But it does give a good indication of what areas may have problems.
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UNIT 27: Output Criteria: Custom Criterion


Custom Criterion is a function that allows you to plot data from standalone programs in SOLIDCast. These programs are available from Finite Solutions, Inc. Or, you can develop custom criteria functions using one of the stand-alone utilities described in Unit 46. One custom function calculates the FCC Criterion, which was developed by F. Chiesa of the Universite de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. This function was developed as an indicator of total evolved microporosity in aluminum castings. It has since been applied to other alloys with some success. This criterion is based on the solidus velocity (the speed with which the solidus wavefront moves through the casting) and the local solidification time (the time to cool from liquidus to solidus). Higher numbers indicate more probability of porosity. An example of an FCC plot is shown here:

Another Custom Criterion that is being developed is a gradient calculation for Solidification Time. This has been shown in several cases to be a predictor of hot tearing in some castings. Dendrite Arm Spacing(DAS) in aluminum castings is still another custom criterion. As these new functions are created, they will be made available to all SOLIDCast users. Note: A full description of the FCC Criterion and how to use it is given in Unit 41.

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UNIT 28: Importing Model Files


You can import Model Files created with the Version 4 Model Builder(DOS) into SOLIDCast. This allows you to continue work with models that may have been originally created before SOLIDCast was released. When creating a Model File in the Version 4 Model Builder, you assign materials 1-8 to the shapes in the model. Material 1 is always the casting material. The other materials may vary in definition. When you Import a Model File in SOLIDCast, the system requires that you select which material is represented by each number in the model, with the exception that Number 1 is always assumed to be casting material. If there are materials OTHER than 1 in the model, then the system will ask you to select a material type for each number when the model is imported. The materials can be selected as: Riser material Fill material Void material A material selected from the mold material database Be sure that, before meshing, you have selected a mold material from the material database, if youre going to have the meshing operation create a rectangular or shell mold around the casting. As an example, suppose that we have the following model as created in the Version 4 Model Builder:

In this model, Materials 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 have been assigned to various shapes and have specific meanings. In order to import this model into SOLIDCast, we need to be sure that we know which of these material numbers represents which specific type of material.

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To import this into SOLIDCast, we would first start the program and select File New Model. Then select Model Import AFS 4.2 Model File. Navigate to the model file named 70475R2.mdl and click on Open. The system will display the following window:

This allows you to select the casting alloy. Here, 1030 Plain Carbon Steel has been selected. Next, the system will ask that you pick a material for Material Number 2 in the model, as follows:

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In this case, Material #2 is Riser Material. Under the OK button on the right side of the window is a button labeled Riser Material. Click on this button to make that selection. The system will cycle through each of the material numbers in the original model, asking you to identify them. In this example we have selected Zircon Sand for Material #5, Insulating Sleeve for Material #6 and Fill Material for Material #7. Once all materials used in the model have been selected, the geometric model will appear in SOLIDCast as follows:

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UNIT 29: Planes of Symmetry


Planes of Symmetry can be used to section a symmetrical casting model, so that only a portion of the model needs to be meshed and simulated. Why do this? The reason is so that a simulation can be run with fewer nodes and thus in a shorter time, but still get the same resolution in terms of node size. For example, if a casting is symmetrical in halves, it is possible to cut the model in half with a plane of symmetry. Running a simulation with 500,000 nodes on one half of the model would produce the same results as running a simulation of the full model with 1,000,000 nodes. The amount of time to run the smaller simulation would be significantly shorter. As an example, consider the following model of an idler casting. This model is exactly symmetrical down the middle:

In this case, we could place a plane of symmetry along the X-axis of the part. This model was conveniently created with the center of the casting at the origin point of space (where X and Y are 0) so it is easy to set up a plane of symmetry here.

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To create the plane of symmetry, select ModelOptions and click on the Planes of Symmetry tab. You will see the following window appear:

In this case, we want a lower-Y Plane of Symmetry at the position Y=0.000. Therefore, click on the small square to the left of Lower Y to place a check mark there. The window will then appear as follows:

Now click the button labeled Apply. This places the Plane of Symmetry at Y=0. If you wanted to place the plane at a different location, just enter a different number in the field under Position. Also, it is possible to rotate an X or Y Plane of Symmetry to make, for example, a wedge shape from a round casting.

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The Plane of Symmetry will appear on the model as follows:

The Plane of Symmetry is a rectangular block that covers half the model. This indicates that when the model is meshed, only one-half will actually appear in the mesh. This can be verified by meshing the model and viewing the result:

Here the meshing operation meshes only one-half the casting. The other half of the casting appears in outline (because this was an imported STL shape), but only the meshed half will actually be run in the simulation. After simulation, the data can be mirrored and displayed on the full casting model.

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UNIT 30: Priority Numbers: Intersecting Shapes


If two shapes in a model overlap and are made of different materials, then the system needs to know which material should occupy that overlap region when the model is meshed. This is accomplished through the use of Priority Numbers. Priority Numbers: Are assigned to EACH INDIVIDUAL SHAPE in a model. Range from 1 to 10. Are applicable ONLY when TWO OR MORE INTERSECTING SHAPES of DIFFERENT MATERIALS occur in the model. When two shapes intersect and are different materials, the SHAPE WITH THE SMALLEST NUMBER (CLOSEST TO 1) will appear in the overlap region. Example: A solid cylinder (core) passing through a rectangular block:

If we set the priority of the cylinder to 4 and the rectangular block to 5, then when this model is meshed, the cylinder will core a hole through the block, and the hole will be filled with the material that the cylinder is made of.
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This can be seen in the following view of the mesh:

On the other hand, if we assign a priority of 6 to the cylinder and 5 to the block, then in the overlap region the block will dominate, as follows:

If we have overlapping shapes of different materials, priority numbers must be set correctly to produce the correct results.
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UNIT 31: Void Material


Void Material is a special-purpose material that is primarily useful in the investment casting process. Using Void Material, you can remove some material from one shape without replacing it with another type of material. This is useful for investment casting because the shell is then meshed around the net shape. As an example, consider the following vertical cylinder. Four shapes made of Void Material have been added around the top of this cylinder to remove material and make four notches:

Note that it is necessary for the Void Material to have a SMALLER PRIORITY NUMBER (closer to 1) than the casting material.

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The result of meshing this model is as follows:

It can be seen that the notches are removed from the cylinder, and no other material fills these features. When the shell is meshed, then the shell will be meshed around the net shape.

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UNIT 32: Mold Filling


SOLIDCast can be used to simulate the filling of the mold cavity. Filling calculations are done using an order-of-fill algorithm taking the direction of gravity into account. If you have purchased the optional FLOWCast module, the system can also perform a full Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis (meaning that metal velocity is calculated, and momentum, viscosity and pressure are taken into account). The simplifications in the SOLIDCast fill algorithm provide for a rapid calculation for mold filling which gives a realistic starting point, in terms of temperature gradients in the casting and mold, for subsequent solidification calculations. If splashing, mold erosion or misrun defects are a problem in your foundry, then you would want to run fluid flow simulations using FLOWCast. See the FLOWCast Training Workbook for full details on running fluid flow analyses. To perform a SOLIDCast mold filling calculation, it is necessary to use the special-purpose material called Fill Material. You can make shapes out of Fill Material just as with any other material type. Where the Fill Material contacts Casting or Riser Material, the metal is assumed to begin flowing into the mold. If Fill Material is not in contact with either Casting or Riser Material a simulation error will result. Generally, a shape of Fill Material is placed at the top of a sprue, or the entire gating system can be created of Fill Material and the filling of the casting simulated at the point where the gating system attaches to the casting. It is also possible to place inlet gates on the casting and simulate the filling of the casting cavity without creating a model of the entire gating system. In the following example, a plate of fill material has been placed at the inlet location for the molten metal:

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The filling of the casting will begin at this location when the simulation starts, as shown in the following sequence:

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The behavior of the filling metal can be controlled to some extent by adjusting a parameter file in the \Program Files\SOLIDCast folder. This file is called $ftune.300 and is a text file. By editing the values in this file, you can make the behavior of the filling more appropriate to various types of filling scenarios. For a typical horizontal gating situation, the parameters in this file would be as follows:
0.50 1.0 0 0 .33 0.2 1 1 1

For a vertical gating situation or one in which the metal is poured into the cavity via a vertical drop, the parameters in this file might be adjusted as follows:
0.50 3.0 0 0 .10 0.06 1 1 1

If the file $ftune.300 does not exist, then the system will assume the horizontal type of filling parameter for mold filling. The following is a more detailed explanation of how the tuning parameters work. Line 1: Flow Linearity Default Value: 0.5 Range: 0 to 1 This line specifies the level of mixing which occurs along streamlines as the flow moves from the inlet gate locations to the filling surface. A value of 1 indicates no mixing (metal takes the most direct path from the gate to the surface), while a value of 0 would indicate a high level of mixing (random paths from the gate to the surface). This parameter affects temperature gradients and not filling sequence. In general, it is probably not advisable to change this value.

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Line 2: Relative Weight for Node Elevation Default Value: 1.0 Range: 0 to 3 This line specifies the relative importance of the effect of gravity in deciding which node to fill next. The filling calculations basically examine all surface nodes and their elevation relative to the inlet gate in order to decide which node fills in the next step. This factor specifies the strength which is assigned to the gravity component; a higher number assigns more weight to the gravity component, a lower number less weight. This factor affects the filling sequence of nodes by causing lower nodes to fill preferentially. Line 3: Currently Unused Line 4: Currently Unused Line 5: Relative Weight of Random Component in Filling Default Value: 0.33 Range: 0 to 3 In the filling calculations, a random component is applied to remove bias in filling and to take into account the random nature of open fluid flow. The relative importance of the random component (relative to the gravity effect) is specified by this parameter. In general, if the elevation component is high and the random component is low, the gravity effect dominates. If the random component is high and the elevation component low, the fluid fills the cavity as an expanding mass without much regard for gravity. Line 6: Fraction of Surface to Fill Default Value: 0.20 Range: 0 to 1 In the mold-filling calculations, a given fraction of surface nodes are filled before a new surface location is established and new potentials for filling are assigned to the surface nodes. The fraction of surface nodes which are filled before the new surface is established is specified by this parameter. The behavior of the fluid is affected by this setting. If the fraction is high, then most of the surface nodes will be filled before a new surface is calculated, and the liquid will tend to expand as a mass rather than under the effect of gravity. If the fraction is low, only a few lower nodes will be filled in each time step before a new surface is established, and the effect of gravity will be more pronounced. For castings which have a relatively high vertical drop (such as vertical feeder bars in an investment-cast tree or castings in vertically-parted molds) this factor can be set lower in order to simulate the momentum of the fluid gained from the vertical drop, this tending to fill the feeder bar before the castings begin significant filling.

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Line 7: Mixing Level Default Value: 1 Range: 0 minimum, no maximum In order to simulate fluid mixing which occurs during mold fill, a mixing algorithm has been incorporated into the program. The level of mixing is specified by this parameter. This affects temperature distributions within the liquid metal. A value of 0 turns off the mixing process. Line 8: Temperature Smoothing Default Value: 1 Range: 0 minimum, no maximum After mixing, an algorithm which smoothes temperatures is used to minimize local temperature gradients within the fluid. The level of temperature smoothing is controlled by this parameter. A value of 0 turns off temperature smoothing. Line 9: Fraction of Gate Area Considered in Filling Time Step Default Value: 1 Range: 0 to 1 This factor is used to determine the size of the time steps which the system uses to calculate filling sequence, by considering how much of the inlet gate area allows flow for each calculation step. At a value of 1, the entire inlet gate area is used for each time step. This factor should generally not be adjusted.

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UNIT 33: Modeling Considerations by Process


Special considerations for the specific casting processes can be summarized as follows:

Sand Casting
Turn off Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients Use a low External Heat Transfer Coefficient: Around 1.5 BTU/Hr-sqft-F Only use as much sand as is necessary to absorb the heat (1 for small castings,

4-5 for large castings) Generally make a rectangular mold when meshing

Investment Casting
Turn off Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients Use an External Heat Transfer Coefficient: Around 10-14 BTU/Hr-sqft-F Use Shell option when creating the mold Use Void Material is necessary to remove material from shapes Use View Factor Calculations to take radiation into account

Permanent Mold Casting


Turn on Internal Heat Transfer Coefficients Use an External Heat Transfer Coefficient: Around 5-7 BTU/Hr-sqft-F Use Internal Heat Transfer Coefficient recommendations as given in Unit 8 Use None option when meshing if the mold is part of the model Use View Factor Calculations to take radiation into account Use Permanent Mold Cycling when running simulations Use the Coarse/Fine mesh option for warm-up cycles.

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UNIT 34: Capturing and Printing Images


Since SOLIDCast is a Windows application, standard techniques used in Windows apply. You can press the Alt-Print Screen keys to copy the current window to the Windows clipboard, or use Print Screen to capture the full screen. You can then go into many Windows applications and copy this image into that application by selecting Edit Paste. Some Windows applications where this can be done are: Word Paint PowerPoint Excel Once the images are in any of these programs, you can then print the images as a standard Windows print operation. An alternative is to use any of a large number of commercial screen capture utilities. When you activate these programs, you can select a type of file to save images, a file name, and autoincrementing of file names. After activation, you can then press Print Screen(or other Hot Key) at any time and a file will be created containing the image that youre seeing. Later, you can load this image into any of the Windows programs listed above for documentation and/or printing. A quick search on the Internet will normally list a large number of low-cost or free utilities that can be used to capture screens and manipulate images. At FSI we have used Full Shot(www.inbit.com) Snag-It(www.techsmith.com) Pizazz 5/Capture.Eze(www.screencapture.com) all with good results.

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UNIT 35: Model Editing


SOLIDCast allows you to select one or more shapes within a model, and perform editing functions on those shapes. This may apply whether you have only one shape (such as an imported STL file), or multiple shapes within a model. For example, it is possible that when you import an STL shape, the shape may not be oriented correctly with respect to the Z axis (the +Z direction is considered to be up). Shape editing allows you to select the shape and rotate it so that the shape is oriented correctly. As another example, you may have imported a model built with the Version 4.20 Model Builder. Such a model may consist of multiple shapes. Shape editing allows you to select one or more shapes and perform such operations as verifying or changing material type, changing priority, deleting or changing geometric properties such as length and radius of a cylinder.

Selecting Shapes
Selecting shapes for editing is performed by clicking on the small arrow on the tool bar. When the mouse passes over this arrow icon, the label Select Shape Mode appears.

You will notice that when you click on the Select Shape Mode icon, it depresses and stays depressed. When you are in Select Shape Mode, you cannot rotate the model by moving the mouse. You need to turn off Select Shape Mode by clicking on the icon a second time, if you want to be able to use the Free Rotating Isometric View. Once you are in Select Shape Mode, you just need to click on a shape to select it. You will see the shape change color. As an example, the following image shows a casting with multiple risers with sleeves. The image on the left shows the model as it appears in the model building window. In the right image, the riser sleeve closest to the view has been selected by clicking on this shape:

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To select multiple shapes, hold down on the Ctrl key while clicking on the shapes. To un-select one or more shapes, hold down on the Ctrl key and click on a shape that has already been selected. If you want to select a shape that is inside another shape, you can hide a shape. First, select the outer shape, then select Show from the main menu and click on Hide Selection. This will make the outer shape invisible, so the inner shape should then be visible. If you want to select ONLY the inner shape, then just click on that shape. If you want to select BOTH the outer and inner shape, then hold down on the Ctrl key and click on the inner shape. Remember, the Ctrl key is used when selecting multiple shapes. To unselect any and all selected shapes, while in Select Shape Mode, just double-click with the mouse in the clear space around the model. This will have the effect of causing no shape to be selected.

Deleting Selected Shapes


When one or more shapes has been selected, you can delete them from the model. From the main menu select Edit and then Delete Selected Shapes. A warning message will be shown that tells you that you are about to delete the selected shapes. If you want to continue with this operation, then click on Yes, otherwise click on No.

Moving Selected Shapes


When one or more shapes have been selected, you can move the selected shapes in three distinct ways. The first is to specify a distance in the X, Y and Z direction. From the main menu select Edit and then Move Selected Shape(s). You will see a window that appears as follows:

In order to move the selected shapes, type in a distance for moving the shapes in the fields next to X, Y and Z. The units for this distance will be inches if Metric Units (under System Parameters) are turned off, and millimeters if Metric Units are turned on.
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For example, to move the selected shapes 6.5 inches in the X direction and 2 inches in the Y direction, you would enter the following information into this window:

Then click on the button labeled OK. The selected shapes will be moved in the model. The second move method called Use Pick Points, and is used in either a 2D Orthogonal View or in the Free Rotating Isometric View. To activate the Use Pick Points move option, first select one or more objects in the model, then click on EditMove Selected Shape(s). You should see a window similar to the following:

Click on the Use Pick Points button. Once selected, you can click on any surface on the model, and, at every even click, the system will calculate the 3D difference in position and perform a move using that data. This option can be used in any view, but the points clicked must be on a model surface. For example, if the first click was on the center of the selected sphere and the
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second click was on the lower radius on the left side of the part, the move might look like the figure shown here:

The third move option is to Use Mouse Click, and this option is available only in 2D Orthogonal Views. First, select the object or objects, then select EditMove Selected Object(s). Then click on the Use Mouse Click button, as shown here:

Now, each set of two clicks will perform a 2D move, based on the distance between the two mouse clicks. It is not necessary to click on the model for this function to work. Also note that if the view is changed between mouse clicks, the move data will be ignored. An example of a Use Mouse Click move is shown on the next page, where the first click was on the left of the selected sphere, and the second click was on the right side of the sphere.

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The figure below shows the same move from a top angle. As you can see, the sphere was offset in 2D only, and did not move forward or back in the third dimension.

Undo Last Move


Once a move function has been executed, you have the option to undo the move. This function is activated by selecting EditUndo Last Move. This will restore the moved object or objects to their original position. An example of this function is shown on the next page. Note that the Undo function only goes one layer deep, that is, only the LAST move can be undone.

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Sphere Position After Move.

Sphere Position After EditUndo Last Move.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Rotating Selected Shapes


When one or more shapes has been selected, you can rotate the selected shapes about a point in space. From the main menu select Edit and then Rotate Selected Shape(s). You will see a window that appears as follows:

To rotate selected shapes, you must enter a point about which the shapes are to be rotated (the fields under Rotate Center in this window) and the angle of rotation, in degrees, about the XAxis, the Y-Axis or the Z-Axis (the fields under Rotate Angle). As an example, suppose we wanted to rotate a casting model 90 degrees about the X-Axis. This would be done by selecting all of the shapes in the model, selecting Edit and Rotate Selected Shape(s), then making the following entry in this window:

At this point, you would click on the OK button and the selected shapes would be rotated 90 degrees about the point (X=0, Y=0, Z=0).
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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Copying Selected Shapes


When one or more shapes have been selected, you can makes copies. The copies may be created along a line from the original, with a given offset in the X, Y and Z directions, or they may be created in a circular pattern around a line parallel to either the X, Y or Z axis (a Ring copy). When copies are created in a ring, each copy will be rotated relative to the original shape.

Linear Copies
To copy shapes, from the main menu select Edit and then Copy Selected Shape(s). As an example, consider the following part in which the main body and one lateral rib have been created as extruded shapes. The objective is to create additional copies of the rib, with a spacing of 0.75 inches from one to the next in the X direction. We would first depress the Select shape mode arrow on the toolbar, then click on the rib to select it. This would appear as follows:

We would next click on the Edit Copy Selected Shape(s) menu. The following box would appear:

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This box is used to tell the system how to make copies. In this case, we want the system to copy the rib in a linear fashion, so we would click on the button labeled Line. We would then indicate how many copies we want (in this case 8) and the offset distance for each copy (in this case, 0.75 inches in the X direction), so the box would appear as follows:

Clicking on the OK button would produce the following result:

When performing a copy operation, the system asks you to verify whether the operation was performed as desired. If the copies do not appear as you wanted them (for example, if you entered the wrong offset) then just click the No button and the copies will disappear. If the copy operation is correct, then click the Yes button and the Copy Window will close.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Ring Copies


An example of a Ring Copy operation is shown below. In this case, we have a hub shape that has been created as a solid of revolution, and a rib that has been created as an extrusion. Here we want to copy the rib so that a copy occurs every 45 degrees around the shape. First, we select the rib as shown:

Next, we select Edit Copy Selected Shape(s) from the main menu. In the box that appears, we make the following entries:

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First of all, we click on Ring to indicate that this will be a ring-type copy operation. Next, we click on Z to indicate that we will be copying around a line parallel to the Z axis. In the Degrees field, we enter 45. Note that when you do this, the number of copies is automatically set to 7. The system assumes that, if you are making copies at 45 degrees, you will probably want 7 copies of the original (just as, if you entered 90, the system would assume 3). You can change the number of copies of you do not actually want the 7 copies as assumed by the system. In this case, 7 is correct. In the Rotate Center fields, we would enter values for X and Y (since we are rotating about Z) if the center of rotation was not at the (X=0,Y=0) point. In this case, the model was created with its center at (0,0), so we can just leave 0 for both of these entries. At this point we click on the OK button. The copies will appear as follows:

By clicking on the Yes button we commit to the copy operation, and the copied shapes then become part of the model. Note that you can use Copy to make copies of an entire casting model so that, for example, you can create multiple castings to model a multiple-cavity arrangement of castings for production.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Editing Shape Parameters For One Shape


If you have selected just one shape, then you can edit the parameters describing that shape. To do this, select a shape and then at the main menu click on Edit and then Edit Selected Shape(s). This option will display the parameters describing the shape that has been selected, and allow you to change those parameters. For example, suppose that you have selected a shape that is a vertical cylinder. The shape parameters will appear as follows:

Note that it is possible to change the coordinates of the bottom center of the cylinder, the length and radius, the priority, the material and the rotation in space of the cylinder. To make such a change, just type in the new data (or, for Material Type, click on the arrow to display a list of available materials) and then click on OK.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Editing Shape Parameters Multiple Shapes


If you have selected multiple shapes, then you can also edit some parameters of the shapes selected. You cannot adjust the individual geometric parameters of each shape. However, you can adjust some things for all of the selected shapes. If you select multiple shapes in the model, then at the main menu click on Edit and then Edit Selected Shape(s), you will see the following:

This allows you to specify a center and angle for rotation, priority number or a material type for ALL selected shapes. Once you make an entry here and click OK, ALL of the selected shapes will be changed to that rotation, priority number or material type.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Grouping Shapes


When you select a shape that is part of a group, then all shapes in that group will be selected. If you have imported a Version 4.20 model in which some shapes are grouped, that grouping will be maintained when the model is imported into SOLIDCast. You can create a group by selecting multiple shapes and then selecting Edit Group Shapes. You can ungroup a group of shapes by selecting that group and then selecting Edit Ungroup Shapes. Note that when an Edit operation is performed (such as deleting), ALL SELECTED SHAPES will be affected, regardless of whether they are grouped or not. Grouping is just a convenient way of linking several shapes together so that when you want to select them again at a later time and perform some Edit operations, you only need to click on one of the shapes to select all of the group shapes. If you select a shape that is part of a group, all shapes within that group are selected. You can select additional shapes by Ctrl-clicking on those shapes. This does not add these additional shapes to the group; it just causes all of these shapes to be selected so that an editing operation can be performed on all of them simultaneously. If you wish to add the additional shapes to the original group, you can do so by selecting Edit Group Shapes.

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UNIT 36: Editing the Project Tree/Archiving Projects


SOLIDCast organizes models, meshes and simulations into Projects. A project may contain one or more models, meshes or simulations. In general, a project should be thought of as a collection of related models, meshes and simulations. Normally a project contains model variations for a single cast part, but this is not a strict requirement. The Project Tree appears on the left side of the screen as you work in SOLIDCast. An example might appear as follows:

In this example, there are four models. Each model has a mesh associated with it. The third model has a simulation as well, and the fourth model has a FLOWCast fluid flow simulation. The second model is actually created from the first, as it is the optimized model, mesh and simulation that is the final result of using the automatic process optimization module, OPTICast. OPTICast and FLOWCast are optional modules that integrate with SOLIDCast, and are available from Finite Solutions Inc. Note that you can name each entry on the Project Tree with whatever you want to type to identify an entry. When you create a new model, mesh or simulation the system uses default names, however you can change these names whenever you want. To change a name on the Project Tree, just triple-click on that entrys name. The name becomes editable. You can then modify or type a new name into the project tree. Note that FLOWCast Solution is not currently an editable name. If you want to delete an entry from the Project Tree, highlight that entry by clicking on its icon. Then select File Delete Selected Item in Tree from the main menu.

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Note 1: If you delete an item from the tree, all related items under that item will also be deleted. For example, if you delete a Model from the tree, then all meshes and simulations associated with that model (all those that appear directly under the Model) will also be deleted. If you delete a Mesh from the tree, then all simulations run with that mesh will also be deleted. Note 2: If you delete an optimization entry, then you will not be able to go back and edit or reuse the optimization project. However, the optimized model, mesh and simulation will still be available on the project tree. Note 3: You cannot directly select a FLOWCast Solution entry to rename or delete it. To delete FLOWCast data(which can get VERY large!), select the mesh name on the project tree just above the FLOWCast Solution entry, then select FileRemove FLOWCast Data You will be asked to confirm this action. If you say yes, the system will remove the FLOWCast entry from the project tree and delete all files associated with the fluid flow simulation. Currently, models, meshes and simulations are not stored in a compressed format automatically by the system. Deleting unneeded entries from the project tree also deletes the associated files on disk, so this is one way to free up additional hard disk space. We also recommend that projects created by SOLIDCast be compressed by the user with WinZip periodically, in order to maintain a reasonable amount of free disk space. It is a good idea to compress (zip) project folders and to move them to an archive media such as a CD, on a regular basis. Doing this involves basically three steps: Step 1. Have WinZip installed on your computer Step 2. Locate the folder which contains the project that you want to archive Step 3. Zip the folder and move it to the CD. Step 1: For the first step, you may already have WinZip installed. If so, you can go on to the next step. If you don't have WinZip, you can download it for free from www.winzip.com. From there, you will get a file called Winzip81.exe. Just run this file by double-clicking it to install WinZip, which will allow you to compress files and folders. Step 2: Once you have WinZip installed, you then need to locate the folder which contains a SOLIDCast project that you want to archive. A SOLIDCast project contains all of the model, mesh and simulation files that are associated with that project. A Project Folder with the same name as the project contains all of these files. Normally, SOLIDCast project folders are found in a folder called c:\Projects on your hard drive. If you open this folder, you should see SOLIDCast project folders that have been created. It is possible to save project folders in different places on the hard drive by changing paths, so if you don't see a c:\Projects main folder, you may have to go hunting for the project folders on your hard drive. (The Windows Search feature can be helpful here.)

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Lets assume that you have a c:\Projects folder on your hard drive (keeping in mind that you may have project folders in some other location). Suppose that you create a project in SOLIDCast called "AP-100". This actually creates a folder called AP-100 within the c:\Projects folder. If you open My Computer on the Windows desktop, then open drive C:, then open the Projects folder, you should see a folder called AP-100. This is the SOLIDCast project folder for AP-100. Step 3: After locating the project folder, place the mouse cursor over it and press the RIGHT mouse button. You should see a menu item which looks like "Add to AP-100.zip". Click on this menu selection with the left mouse button. This will create a file with the name AP-100.zip. This file will be located in the Projects folder. This is the file that you want to put onto the CD. Once you are sure that you have created a copy of the AP-100.zip file on the CD, then you can delete the AP-100 folder and the AP-100.zip file from your hard drive. Later, if you need to reload this project from the CD, just locate the AP-100.zip file on the CD and double-click it. This will bring up WinZip and will show all of the component files. Click on the Extract button. Make sure that the selection is checked which says "Use Folder Names". Then navigate to the c:\Projects folder, click the New Folder button and enter the name of the project (which in this case is AP-100). This will recreate the project folder on the hard drive. Then click the Extract button to unzip all of the files and subfolders into this folder. After doing this, you should be able to run SOLIDCast and load the AP-100 project in the normal way.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING

UNIT 37: Making Movies


SOLIDCast allows you to create movies from the results of running simulations. These movies are in the form of AVI files. AVI files are standard animation files that can be viewed on any Windows system, as long as the Windows Media Player program is installed. Media Player is a Windows system accessory and is normally found in most Windows installations. A current version of the Media Player can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site, http://www.microsoft.com. There are several types of movie files that can be created in SOLIDCast, as noted below. Each type is then described in a following section. Iso-Surface Movies Each frame of the movie is an iso-surface plot. The progression works best on time-related data. For example, an iso-surface movie of solidification time would show the progression of solidification in a casting. The surfaces would show what metal had not yet solidified at that point in time. Cut-Plane Movies Each frame of the movie is a cut-plane plot. A cut-plane plot is a 2D plot, taken from a slice of the 3D model. Again, this progression works best on time-related data. This movie shows only the 2D cut plane, and not the full 3D model. CastPic Movies Each frame shows a CastPic plot. This is 3D and in color, and can be cut into up to three directions to show internal features. The plot can be set to go gray when outside the plot area, or to fade to blue. This can be quite effective in showing a casting cool down after solidification. CastScan Movies CastScan movies come in two flavors, Progressive and Rotating. Progressive CastScan movies plot a different range of data in each frame, to show, for example, the progression of solidification. Rotating movies, on the other hand, plot the same data in each frame, but the view is rotated in each frame, to give the impression that the casting is moving about, as on a rotating turntable. You can specify many colored layers, which give a very attractive visual effect.

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ISO-SURFACE MOVIES
Iso-surface movies are a series of iso-surfaces at progressive values in a casting model. Each isosurface plotted becomes a single frame in the movie. At the end of the movie creation function, all individual images are included in a single AVI file. Creating an Iso-surface movie is similar to plotting a single Iso-surface plot (see the section on Iso-surface plotting). Load your simulation. Then rotate the casting to the angle want displayed for the movie. Now, double-click on the simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Summary box, then close the Simulation Summary box and select Simulation Plot Iso-Surface from the main menu. Select the data item that you want to plot. For Iso-surface movies, the type of data that is plotted is usually either Critical Fraction Solid Time or Solidification Time, since both of these are time-based criteria and making a movie of progression of time makes the most intuitive sense. If you select Critical Fraction Solid Time, for example, you will see a window similar to this:

Notice on this window that there is a small box labeled Movie. If you click this box, some additional fields appear in the window as shown here:

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Now there are items labeled Ending Value, Movie Filename, Frames and Fps. Plot This Value indicates the value of the iso-surface plot in the first frame of the movie. Ending Value indicates the value of the iso-surface to be plotted in the final frame of the movie. Typically you might want this to be slightly less than the Maximum value, so that the final area to solidify will appear with a definite shape in the last movie frame. Movie Filename refers to the name of the AVI file that will contain this movie. In this example, the movie file will be called A100CFS.AVI. This file will be placed into the current folder where the System Parameter for Import Files is set. Frames refers to the number of individual pictures that will make up the movie. The more frames that are specified, the smaller will be the change from one surface to the next, however, with more frames it will take longer for the system to make the movie and the size of the AVI file will be larger. Fps stands for frames per second, and controls how fast the individual images are displayed. After specifying the above information, click on OK. The system will create a series of isosurface plots, and when finished the Media Player will start automatically and show the movie that was created. Close the Media Player to return to SOLIDCast. Note: The iso-surface movie type is created by drawing a series of iso-surface plots on the screen, then capturing these screens as files and knitting those files together into the AVI movie. Once you activate this function, DO NOT move the mouse again until the AVI file has been created. Mouse movement will change the model orientation and spoil your movie. The other movie types are created in the background, so you can do other work while a movie is being created. Any time that you want to later view the movie, or send it to another person to view, you just need to locate the AVI file that was created and double-click its icon to start viewing, or send the file as an email attachment to another person. When the other person receives the file, they can just double-click the icon to view the movie. It is not necessary to have SOLIDCast installed on a computer to view these movie files.

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CUT-PLANE MOVIES
Cut-Plane movies show the progression of a selected type of data on a single 2D slice cut through a casting model. A series of images are created which show the progression of the chosen data item on the cut plane. At the end of the movie creation function, all individual images are included in a single AVI file. Creating a Cut Plane movie involves first creating a Cut Plane plot on a chosen plane(see the section on Cut Plane plotting). A simulation must have been completed. Double-click on the simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Summary box, then close the Simulation Summary box and select Simulation Plot Cut Plane from the main menu. Select the data item that you want to plot, minimum and maximum plot values, and the direction of the cut plane. For Cut Plane movies, the type of data that is plotted is usually either Critical Fraction Solid Time or Solidification Time, since both of these are time-based criteria and making a movie of progression of time makes the most intuitive sense. Now click on OK to create a Cut Plane plot. You can now use the slider bar to position the Cut Plane where you want it to be in the model. As an example, you should see something like the following on the screen:

Notice on this window that there is a small box labeled Movie. If you click this box, a small window will appear as follows:

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Notice there are items labeled Movie Filename, Frames and fps. Movie Filename refers to the name of the AVI file that will contain this movie. In this example, the movie file will be called Cut Plane Movie - CFS.AVI. This file will be placed into the current folder where the System Parameter for Import Files is set. Frames refers to the number of individual pictures that will make up the movie. The more frames that are specified, the smaller will be the change from one surface to the next, however, with more frames it will take longer for the system to make the movie and the size of the AVI file will be larger. fps refers to the number of frames per second that will be shown when the AVI file is displayed. This controls the speed of the movie. This is typically a value between 1 (slow) and 4 (fast). After specifying the above information, click on OK. The system will then begin creating the movie as requested. On the Windows Task Bar you will see a button that shows the progress of movie creation. For example, if 30 frames were requested, the task bar will display 1 of 30, 2 of 30, etc. until the movie is done. When the movie creation function is finished the Media Player will start automatically and show the movie that was created. Any time that you want to later view the movie, or send it to another person to view, you just need to locate the AVI file that was created and double-click its icon to start viewing, or send the file as an email attachment to another person. When the other person receives the file, they can just double-click the icon to view the movie. It is not necessary to have SOLIDCast installed on a computer to view these movie files.

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CAST PIC MOVIES
CastPic movies show the progression of a selected type of data in the form of CastPic images of a casting model. A series of CastPic images are created which show the progression of the chosen data item on the model surface. At the end of the movie creation function, all individual images are included in a single AVI file. Creating a CastPic movie involves first creating a CastPic plot of a model at a given angle of rotation. (See the section on CastPic plotting). A simulation must have been completed. Doubleclick on the simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Summary box, then close the Simulation Summary box and select Simulation CASTPIC Plot from the main menu. Select the data item that you want to plot, minimum and maximum plot values, location of cut plane (if any), whether to plot data outside the range and the Plot Detail number. For CastPic movies, the type of data that is plotted is usually either Critical Fraction Solid Time or Solidification Time, since both of these are time-based criteria and making a movie of progression of time makes the most intuitive sense. Now click on OK to create a CastPic plot. As an example, you should see something like the following on the screen:

Notice on this window that there is a small box labeled Movie. If you click this box, a small window will appear as follows:

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Notice there are items labeled Movie Filename, Frames and fps. Movie Filename refers to the name of the AVI file that will contain this movie. In this example, the movie file will be called Cast-Pic CFS Time.AVI. This file will be placed into the current folder where the System Parameter for Import Files is set. Frames refers to the number of individual pictures that will make up the movie. The more frames that are specified, the smaller will be the change from one surface to the next, however, with more frames it will take longer for the system to make the movie and the size of the AVI file will be larger. fps refers to the number of frames per second that will be shown when the AVI file is displayed. This controls the speed of the movie. This is typically a value between 1 (slow) and 4 (fast). After specifying the above information, click on OK. The system will then begin creating the movie as requested. On the Windows Task Bar you will see an item thats shows the progress of movie creation. For example, if 30 frames were requested, the task bar will display 1 of 30, 2 of 30, etc. until the movie is done. When the movie creation function is finished the Media Player will start automatically and show the movie that was created. Any time that you want to later view the movie, or send it to another person to view, you just need to locate the AVI file that was created and double-click its icon to start viewing, or send the file as an email attachment to another person. When the other person receives the file, they can just double-click the icon to view the movie. It is not necessary to have SOLIDCast installed on a computer to view these movie files.

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CAST SCAN MOVIES - Progressive
Cast Scan is a new type of movie with the release of Version 5.20 of SOLIDCast. A Cast Scan movie combines elements of both a CastPic and Iso-Surface plots. In a Cast Scan movie, the casting background is created as a solid rendered and shaded casting picture as it is in a CastPic plot. The data inside the casting is created as one or more Iso-Surfaces. If there are multiple IsoSurfaces specified, then the Iso-Surfaces are variably colored with the brighter colors representing the more critical data areas. Cast Scan Movies can be created showing either a progression of data with the casting image in one orientation, or with the data plot limits fixed and the casting rotating in space. We will first discuss the Progressive type of plot, and the next section will deal with the Rotating type of plot. To create a Progressive Cast Scan, first orient the model at the angle at which you want it to appear in the movie. The casting will remain at this angle in all frames of the movie. You must have completed a simulation prior to creating the Cast Scan movie. . Double-click on the simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Summary box, then close the Simulation Summary box and select Simulation CASTSCAN Movie. A window similar to the following will appear:

Note that when this window first appears, Temperature is the default data item. For a Progressive Cast Scan movie, the type of data that is plotted is usually either Critical Fraction Solid Time or Solidification Time, since both of these are time-based criteria and making a movie of progression of time makes the most intuitive sense. You can select a data item by clicking on the selection arrow next to Temperature (Whole Model) and then selecting either Critical Fraction Solid Time or Solidification Time. Note also that Rotating appears in a window. You can change this to Progressive by clicking on the selection arrow next to Rotating. The number of Surfaces specifies how many Iso-Surfaces will be plotted within each image. This can vary from 1 to 24.
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A typical setting for this window would be as follows:

Pressing OK will start the movie creation function. On the Windows Task Bar you will see an item that shows the progress of movie creation. For example, if 30 frames were requested, the task bar will display 1 of 30, 2 of 30, etc. until the movie is done. When the movie creation function is finished the Media Player will start automatically and show the movie that was created. Note that when making Cast Scan movies, the time to create a movie can vary widely. Some of the items that affect the time to make a movie are as follows: Number of Frames: The greater the number of frames, the longer the time to make the movie. Surfaces: The more surfaces, the longer the time. Detail: The higher the detail, the longer the time. (Note that higher detail produces a larger movie when using the default size in the Media Player).

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The following image shows four frames from a typical example of a Progressive Cast Scan movie, showing a progression of solidification on an investment cast tree. Two castings are attached to the central downsprue/runner/feeder:

Any time that you want to later view the movie, or send it to another person to view, you just need to locate the AVI file that was created and double-click its icon to start viewing, or send the file as an email attachment to another person. When the other person receives the file, they can just double-click the icon to view the movie. It is not necessary to have SOLIDCast installed on a computer to view these movie files.

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CAST SCAN MOVIES - Rotating
A Rotating Cast Scan movie is an alternative to the Progressive Cast Scan type of movie. In a Rotating movie, the range of data that is plotted stays constant, and the casting model rotates in space about a vertical axis. This allows the data that is plotted inside the casting to be viewed from all angles, and can sometimes give a viewer a more intuitive feel for where various indications inside the casting model are actually located. To create a Rotating Cast Scan, first orient the model at the angle at which you want it to appear initially in the movie, keeping in mind that the casting will rotate horizontally about its vertical axis in the movie. You must have completed a simulation prior to creating the Cast Scan movie. . Double-click on the simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Summary box, then close the Simulation Summary box and select Simulation CASTSCAN Movie. A window similar to the following will appear:

Now select the type of data you want to plot. In a Rotating Cast Scan movie, any data item may make sense to plot. Our example will show Material Density. Fill in the Movie Filename, Number of Frames and fps (Frames per Second). In a Rotating Cast Scan movie, the model will perform one full rotation. Therefore, the number of frames determines the degrees of rotation from one frame to the next, If number of frames is specified to be 36, then the model will rotate 10 degrees in each frame. If the number is 72, the rotation from one frame to the next will be 5 degrees.

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After filling out the items in the window, it should look something like the following:

Pressing OK will start the movie creation function. On the Windows Task Bar you will see an item that shows the progress of movie creation. For example, if 30 frames were requested, the task bar will display 1 of 30, 2 of 30, etc. until the movie is done. When the movie creation function is finished the Media Player will start automatically and show the movie that was created. Note that when making Cast Scan movies, the time to create a movie can vary widely. Some of the items that affect the time to make a movie are as follows: Number of Frames: The greater the number of frames, the longer the time to make the movie. Surfaces: The more surfaces, the longer the time. Detail: The higher the detail, the longer the time. (Note that higher detail produces a larger movie when using the default size in the Media Player).

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The following image shows four frames from a typical example of a Rotating Cast Scan movie, showing a simulation that was run on a casting with risering. The plot is of Material Density, showing riser piping and shrinkage-prone areas in the casting.

These images were created using 8 surfaces in each image. Any time that you want to later view the movie, or send it to another person to view, you just need to locate the AVI file that was created and double-click its icon to start viewing, or send the file as an email attachment to another person. When the other person receives the file, they can just double-click the icon to view the movie. It is not necessary to have SOLIDCast installed on a computer to view these movie files.

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UNIT 38: Component: The Import/Export Function


SOLIDCast offers the ability (new as of Version 5.20) to identify one or more shapes within a model, save these as a Component File, and then bring this Component File into another model. This ability allows the user to create a library of standard shapes (such as risers or gate components) and load them into model files. This also allows you to merge shapes from one model file into another, or to save an entire model along with its materials and load it into a new model. When a Component File is created, the materials (and their properties) that are included in the Component File shapes are saved along with the shape geometry. When you import a Component File into a model, the materials in the Component File are added to the Material List in the model. For example, suppose that you create a Component File of a riser with a particular exothermic material for a sleeve. Later, you create a new model file with only the casting alloy as a material. You then import the Component File with the sleeved riser. If you examine the Material List after performing the import function, you will find that the exothermic sleeve material has been added to the Material List. If you are building a casting model and then import a Component File, the alloy definition will not change. For example, suppose that you create a riser with SS 304 casting alloy and save this as a Component File. Later, you create a casting model using ST 1030 alloy, then import the Component File. The riser in the Component File will be designated as a riser in the casting model, but the alloy will remain ST 1030, regardless of what alloy was in the saved Component File containing the riser. One exception to the above occurs when you import a Component File into a blank model space, i.e., a new model with no shapes. In this case, the alloy definition switches to the alloy that was used when the Component File was saved. This allows you to treat a Component File as a complete model, with all material definitions intact.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING Example: Creating and Using a Library Component Riser
As an example of using the Component Export and Import functions, consider the creation of a Component File containing a riser with an exothermic sleeve. The riser can be created as a complete model, with the bottom centered at the point (0,0,0). Start SOLIDCast, select File New Model and create the riser and sleeve geometry. In this case, the model is created with a series of cylinders. This riser might appear as follows (the point (0,0,0) is at the very bottom center of the riser neck):

To save one or more shapes as a Component File, it is necessary to select those shapes. In this case, this can be done easily by selecting Edit Select All Shapes. Now, from the main menu select Model Export Selection. You will be asked to enter a name for the Component File. In this case, we enter the name ExoRiser. Note that component files are saved with an extension of .mdc. Therefore, you can locate component files on your system by looking for files that end with an extension of .mdc. In this case, the file that is created is called ExoRiser.mdc. Note that once you save this entire model as a Component File, it is not necessary to save the model as a Project. Note: Component Files are saved in a compressed format.

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Now suppose that we later want to use this standard riser on a casting. First, we would create the casting model, which might appear as follows:

This model was created as a revolution of a 2D shape about the Z axis. Now, to import the riser into this shape, we select Model Import. We have two choices displayed when this is selected: SOLIDCast 5.x Component AFS 4.2 Model File

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In this case we are importing a Component, so we select the first option. This causes the system to display a list of component files (.mdc files), as follows:

We can navigate to other folders or use the default folder and select the correct Component File. In this case we select the ExoRiser.mdc file which contains the riser created earlier. Now the system will request that we enter a location to place the datum point of the Component File into the model file. In this case, we want the bottom center of the riser (the (0,0,0) point of the riser model) to be located at the point (10,0,9.9) on the model. This point can be determined by knowing the dimensions of the casting, or by reading the coordinates from the model display, with the model in an orthogonal (XY, XZ or YZ view). The coordinates are entered as follows:

This provides an offset for positioning the component in the model.

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Clicking on the OK button causes the Component File to be inserted into the model as shown:

When a Component File is loaded into a model, then all of the shapes included in the Component File are automatically grouped together and can be selected with a single click. In this case, assuming that we want three equally-spaced risers, we can just click on the Select Shape Mode icon, click on the riser, select Edit Copy and make two copies in a ring about the Z axis at 120 degrees.

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The result of this appears as follows:

To summarize, the Component Import and Export function can be used in the following ways: 1. To create libraries of standard shapes that can be imported into model files. 2. To merge shapes from two different model files. 3. To save a subgroup of shapes from one model file and load into a different model file. 4. To save an entire model file so that it can be imported into a new model space, or so that it can be sent to another machine or another user and then imported.

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UNIT 39: Mirroring Results


For casting models that are symmetrical, SOLIDCast allows you to specify one or more Planes of Symmetry. This means that a simulation is run on only a portion of the model, which saves time or allows more nodes to be concentrated into a smaller portion of the model (see the section on using Planes of Symmetry). When results are plotted in a model where a Plane of Symmetry has been used, the results are shown only in the section of the model where the model was meshed. As an example, the model below was meshed and simulated with a Lower-X Plane of Symmetry at the center of the model. When Critical Fraction Solid Time is plotted as an Iso-Surface, the result appears as follows:

A new feature in Version 5.20 allows you to mirror the results in the other portions of the model, after the simulation has completed. In this way, you can view results as though the entire model had been simulated. To mirror the results of a simulation, you must have one or more Planes of Symmetry that are NOT ROTATED (i.e., not turned through an angle). If one or more Planes of Symmetry are rotated to any angle other than 0 degrees, mirroring will not work.

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To mirror the results, you must double-click the Simulation icon on the Project Tree, and then close the Simulation Status window. From the menu, select Simulation Mirror Results. A warning box will appear which tells you that you should be sure that the simulation is complete before performing the mirroring operation. Click OK to proceed. After the mirroring operation is complete, double-click the simulation icon again and then close the Simulation Status window, then plot results as you would normally. Mirroring results is a one-time, permanent operation. After performing this operation once for a simulation, the simulation result files are altered and you do not need to perform it again, even if you exit the program and later reload the project. In the example model, performing a Mirror function and then plotting Critical Fraction Solid Time shows the following result:

Mirroring affects ALL types of output plots, such as Iso-Surface, Cut Plane, CastPic and all movie plots. If you have two active Planes of Symmetry (such as a Lower X and a Lower Y) and have simulated one-quarter of the casting, the Mirror function will mirror about BOTH planes of symmetry and allow you to plot data within the entire casting.

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UNIT 40: Cloning a Model


A new feature in Version 5.20 of SOLIDCast allows you to create a copy, or a clone, of a model within a project. This is a useful feature if you want to create several successive design iterations of a model and retain each as a separate model within a project. Cloning a model is very simple. On the Project Tree, double-click the icon for the model that you wish to clone. This will cause the model to be displayed in the model window, and that models icon will be highlighted. Then select File Clone Model from the main menu. This will cause a new model to be listed on the Project Tree. The new model will be an exact copy of the currently selected model, including all of the material properties and even the name of the model. At this point, you can close the model window that you are currently viewing and double-click on the new model that was just cloned. This will open a window on the new model. You can then edit this model, mesh it and run a simulation on the modified model. You may want to rename the newly-created model by triple-clicking on the name in the project tree and typing in a new name. This feature allows you to retain previous versions of a model if you want to be able to load and view these previous versions, while creating new modified versions for analysis.

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UNIT 41: FCC Custom Criterion


The FCC Criterion is a calculation that was developed by Franco Chiesa of the Collge de TroisRivires (Qubec) for prediction of total evolved microporosity in aluminum castings. This criterion is based on a calculation involving Local Solidification Time (time from Liquidus to Solidus) and Solidification Wavefront Velocity at each point in the casting. In moderately degassed aluminum castings, this criterion gives an estimate of the total percent structural microporosity at each point in the casting. SOLIDCast now includes a menu item that allows this calculation to be performed as stored as a Custom Criterion function that can then be plotted. It has been found that this calculation can also give useful results in other alloys (such as iron and steel) for prediction of areas of potential microporosity. This criterion also has proven useful in identifying thermal centers within castings, so that, for example, the location of possible secondary shrinkage in iron castings might be displayed. The range of numbers that will be developed for any given casting depends on the alloy and the geometry of the casting, so it is not possible to say ahead of time what a critical range should be for a particular casting. In general, the higher the number, the more potential for microporosity formation. It has been suggested that, to establish a starting point for plotting, look at a number that is at about 60% of the total range. For example, if the total range in a casting is from 0 to 1.9, then a number at about 60% of this range would be 1.14. This might be a good value to start plotting. Numbers higher than this will generally show less of indications in the casting (the more severe areas) while lower numbers will generally show more indications (less severe areas). Using the FCC Criterion in SOLIDCast is a two-step process: 1. After a simulation is complete, double-click the Simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Status window, then close the Simulation Status window. Select Simulation Calculate FCC Custom Criterion from the main menu. 2. After the calculation is complete, again double-click the Simulation icon on the Project Tree to display the Simulation Status window again. This action loads the minimum and maximum values from the FCC calculation into the system. Now close the Simulation Status window and select a plot. For example, select Simulation Plot Iso-Surface. Under Select Data Type, click on the selection arrow, and find and select Custom High. The range of the FCC Criterion will be displayed, and you can then begin plotting values.

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An example of an Iso-Surface plot using the FCC Criterion is shown as follows:

In this image, you can see several areas in the casting that may be prone to microshrinkage.

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UNIT 42: Tilt Pour


SOLIDCast lets you set a starting and ending angle to simulate tilt pouring. Tilt pouring is used primarily in the permanent mold process, and involves the gradual tilting of a mold from a horizontal to a vertical position in order to provide a relatively quiescent fill and also to promote strong temperature gradients and directional solidification within the model. Generally, a basin of liquid metal attached to the mold is filled while the mold is in a stationary position, and then the mold is tilted upright in a controlled process, gradually filling the mold cavity. Setting up the tilt pour process involves specifying the starting and ending orientation of the mold as angles rotating about either the X axis or the Y axis. It is necessary to have a shape of Fill Material (see the chapter on Mold Filling) that represents the entry location of the molten into the mold. The system assumes that the Fill Time is equal to the Tilt Time. In other words, if you specify a Fill Time of 15 seconds, the system will assume that the time from start of tilt until end of tilt is 15 seconds and that at the end of this time the mold cavity is full of liquid metal. We highly recommend that the model of the casting and model be constructed so that is in the correct orientation at the end of tilting. The default orientation in the system is that +Z represents UP and Z represents DOWN. Keeping this in mind, construct your model so that the mold is in the correct orientation at the END of the tilting process, i.e., when the casting is solidifying. This makes it easier to properly set the tilt pour angles and interpret the results. The key to using the Tilt Pour Angles is to remember that, when you are setting them, you are specifying to the system which direction is DOWN at the start and end of tilt. The model itself does not actually rotate. When the simulation is running, the system gradually changes an internal vector that indicates the direction of gravity, to simulate the tilt pour process. Therefore, using the Tilt Pour Angles feature, you are indicating on the current model, as it is currently oriented, which direction is DOWN at the start and at the end of the tilting process. As stated previously, we recommend that the model be oriented such that it is the correct default orientation (-Z down) at the end of tilt. This means that the ending angle for tilt pour should be 0. To use the Tilt Pour feature, you should have the model displayed in SOLIDCast. Setting of Tilt Pour angles MUST BE DONE PRIOR TO MESHING THE MODEL. The Tilt Pour Angles will not be active if you set them AFTER meshing the model.

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Select Model from the main menu, then select Options. You will see a window which has two tabs, one for Planes of Symmetry and one for Tilt Pour. Select the tab labeled Tilt Pour. You should see the following on the screen:

To activate Tilt-Pour, click on the box labeled Tilt-pour enabled. You then have the option of rotating the tilt-pour arrows around either the X axis or the Y axis. You can set an angle for the Start position and another for the Stop position. (Remember, we recommend that the model be constructed so that the Stop position is the default position with Z as down.) The angles are pointing in the direction that is considered to be DOWN on the model at the start of tilt and at the end of tilt. The arrows are moved by adjusting the slider bars on the right. Rotation around the Y axis would appear as follows:

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Rotation about the X axis would appear as:

As an example, suppose that we have created a model as follows:

This model has been oriented such that it is in the correct, UPRIGHT position at the end of tilt, i.e., the Z direction is considered to be DOWN at the end of tilt. The Stop angle would then be set to 0 degrees, since there would be no rotation from the default Z direction at the end of tilt.

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The question then is how to set the Start angle for this model. As shown, the model as it has been constructed would rotate about the X axis during the tilt. The direction which is DOWN when the mold is in the Start position is the +Y direction on the model in its current orientation (remember, we are specifying which direction would be DOWN on the model, as it is CURRENTLY ORIENTED, when it is in the Start position). Therefore, we would want to set the Start angle to the +Y direction on this model. This would appear as follows:

The rotation is about X, and the Start angle is set to 270 degrees, which we can see from the display is in the +Y direction. Be sure to press the Apply button to activate your selection of Tilt Pour angles.

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UNIT 43: Low Pressure Permanent Mold Casting


One of the additions to the version 5.20.24 update was the ability to better simulate the low pressure permanent mold process. This feature is really quite simple. What happens is that the gravity vector is inverted at the end of filling. This means that, if you build a model in the normal way (+Z = up), the filling will be shown as normal with gravity pulling down, but at the instant the fill is complete the direction of gravity switches 180 degrees, effectively inverting the mold and feeding from the bottom rather than from the top. To activate this feature, there needs to be a file in the SOLIDCast installation folder (typically C:\Program Files\SOLIDCast\) called $LPM.500. This file does not have to contain anything specific, it just needs to be there. If this file exists, and if a filling simulation is performed, then the inversion switch occurs so it is important NOT to have the $LPM.500 file there unless you actually want to do this. The sprue in this case will act exactly like a riser would if you inverted the model. Therefore, you want the sprue to have enough mass, and extend far enough below the casting model, so that it does not get emptied out by the casting contractionotherwise it will show shrinkage from the sprue into the casting, which would not be too realistic. What you are trying to do with this is to show potential for internal shrinkage in isolated hot spots that might be forming in the casting. Niyama and the FCC Criterion can also be used for prediction, but they are independent of orientation and are not affected by this feature.

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UNIT 44: Cooling Channels in Permanent Mold Casting


When you have a model displayed in SOLIDCast and you select Model Materials List, then select the "Mold" tab, you are displaying the selection of materials can be used in a model other than the casting alloy. These are the Mold Materials. There are various types of Mold Materials which can be represented in a model. The type of material is indicated by the selection labeled "Type" on the screen, which has a small arrow next to it. If you click on this arrow, you will see a list of different material types which are available to use for materials in the mold. One of these is "Cooling Channel". A Cooling Channel is typically used in a permanent mold die. This is a channel or area in the die where a fluid is passed, which is assumed to have a constant temperature, for the sake of cooling that area of the die. The Cooling Channel type of material allows this channel to be turned ON or OFF at various times during the process. If you have a cooling channel in your die which is continually on (it is not turned off during the process), then instead of using the Cooling Channel type of material, you can use the Constant Temperature type of material. A Constant Temperature material is maintained at the given temperature throughout the entire simulation; it is never turned on or off. If the cooling channel in your process cycles on and off during the process, then you should use the Cooling Channel material type. This type of mold material allows the cooling channel to be controlled in two ways: 1. The first method of turning the Cooling Channel on and off is through the use of a timer. In this case, the system allows you to specify a Start Time and a Stop Time, in minutes. These are measured from the start of each cycle, i.e., from the start of pouring. Before the Start Time, the cooling channel is not active, i.e., it is turned OFF. After the Start Time and before the Stop Time, the cooling channel is ON, and then after the Stop Time the cooling channel is OFF again. This is repeated for each cycle of a permanent mold simulation. 2. The second method of turning the Cooling Channel on and off is through the use of a thermocouple which is placed at a certain (x,y,z) location in the model. In this method, a High Limit (or a Low Limit) can be specified for operation of the channel. If a High Limit is specified, then the cooling channel starts out turned OFF, and the system monitors the temperature reading of a thermocouple at the given (x,y,z) location in the model. Once the thermocouple registers a temperature above a given Set Temperature, then the cooling channel is turned ON. If the thermocouple reading drops below the Set Temperature, then the cooling channel is turned OFF. This type of control acts continuously throughout the simulation. (Note: There is also a setting called Low Limit, which will turn the channel ON when temperature drops BELOW a given Set Point, and OFF when the temperature rises above the Set Point. The Low Limit control is typically used to control a heating element rather than a cooling channel). As an example, suppose that you have a cooling channel in a die, such that water runs through the channel. You place a thermocouple at a specific position in the die such that its location is at X = 165 mm, Y = 0 mm and Z = 102 mm. If the temperature recorded by this thermocouple goes above 345C, then you want the cooling channel to be turned ON. Once the temperature drops
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below 345C, then the cooling channel should be turned OFF. In order to simulate this condition, you must be able to specify the temperature of the water in the cooling channel, and also the heat transfer coefficient at the inside surface of the channel (the fluid HTC). Some typical values for a water cooling channel might be: Temperature: 60C (140F) Heat Transfer Coefficient: 1532 W-m/K (270 BTU/Hr-Ft-F) Typical values for an air cooling channel might be: Temperature: 32C (90F) Heat Transfer Coefficient: 142 W-m/K (25 BTU/Hr-Ft-F) These values would be in effect ONLY while the cooling channel is turned ON. When the channel is turned OFF, it has little or no effect on the heat transfer in the die. In order to create a material to use to simulate this cooling channel, you would select Model Materials List and then enter the following data for the material at the bottom portion of the window: Name: Cooling Channel 1 Type: Cooling Channel Initial Temp: 38C (See Note 1 below) Thrm Cond: 17 W/M-K (See Note 1 below) Spc Ht: 837 J/Kg-K (See Note 1 below) Dens: 6400 Kg/M (See Note 1 below) Cooling Channel Type: High Limit Temperature ON: 60C HT Coeff. when ON: 1532 W-m/K Temperature Set Point: 345C X: 165 mm Y: 0 mm Z: 102 mm (Note 1: Thermal Conductivity, Specific Heat, Density and Initial Temperature are properties which are NOT USED for cooling channel type of materials. Therefore, you can enter any data into these fields.) Now, click on the button labeled "Add to List". This action will create a cooling channel material in the "Materials in List" box on the screen, with the properties as specified. Please note that this only creates a material; in order to actually use a cooling channel in the model, it is necessary to actually create a shape in the model, and to designate its material type as being the cooling channel material type which is on the mold material list. There is no limit to the number of shapes which can be created using this material type. For example, if you have four channels in a mold and they all have the same properties (they are all controlled the same way, and have the same temperature and HTC when ON), then they can all be designated as this type of cooling channel
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material. You can create up to 8 different types of cooling channel material in a single model. This means that you can vary the types of control, the temperature when ON and the HTC when ON up to eight different ways in a model. Typically, we would name these something like CC1, CC2, CC3, etc. As mentioned, there is no limit on the number of shapes that can be created in the model with each cooling channel material type. Whenever there is one or more cooling channel material listed in the Mold Materials for a model that is designated either as a High Limit or a Low Limit type of control, and a simulation is run, a file is created which contains the time and temperature data for the readings from that thermocouple. This file is named tcdata.tmp, and can be found in the folder that contains the simulation result data. This is a text file that can be imported into programs such as Microsoft Excel for viewing or plotting. One important note is that a time/temperature data file will be created in the simulation result file, even if there is no cooling channel shape in the model, as long as a cooling channel material (either High Limit or Low Limit type) is listed in the mold material list for a model. This allows the user to place from 1 to 8 thermocouples in a model, without requiring that any cooling channels actually exist in the model. By default, a thermocouple time/temperature data file creates an entry for every time step in a simulation. If you have a large simulation with many cycles, this can create a very large file with many thousands of entries. There is a method by which the number of time/temperature entries can be reduced. It is possible to create a small text file called $tcinc.500 in the SOLIDCast installation folder (this folder is normally c:\Program Files\SOLIDCast). This $tcinc.500 file can be created with NotePad or any other Windows program that can create a text file. This file should contain a number. For example, suppose that the file $tcinc.500 exists and contains the number 10. This means that any time/temperature data will be written only every 10 time steps instead of every time step. By using this method, the amount of time/temperature data can be reduced by a factor of 10. If the file $tcinc.500 exists and contains the number 100, then data will be written to the tcdata.tmp file every 100 time steps. If $tcinc.500 does not exist, the system writes time/temperature data every time step. For calculating the surface heat transfer coefficients inside cooling channels, we have a small DOS program called HTCALC.EXE. This program is found in the DOS version of the AFS Solidification System (3D) (it is in the Utility Programs menu) or it can be run as a standalone program. This program can calculate HTC's for air and water cooling channels, given the flow rate and the channel diameter. The calculated value would then be used when creating a cooling channel type of material, under the "HT Coeff. when ON" entry.

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UNIT 45: Riser Design Wizard


The Riser Design Wizard is a new feature of SOLIDCast, included starting with Version 6.0. The Riser Design Wizard allows you to analyze a casting model without risers or feeders, and determine the number, placement and size of risers or feeders that should be attached to the casting. After performing these calculations, you should add the risers to the model and perform a verification simulation to determine whether any adjustments in design may be necessary.

BASIC CONCEPTS
The Riser Design Wizard uses the concept of a modulus to analyze the casting, differentiate feeding areas, and design an appropriately-sized riser. The casting modulus is a term coined years ago to describe the ratio of the volume to surface area of a casting, or of its various sections. According to Chvorinovs rule, the sections of a casting which have a higher modulus (volume:surface area ratio) will freeze last, while those sections with a lower modulus value will freeze earlier. The ideal situation is for the casting to undergo directional solidification toward the riser (or feeder); this generally means that a riser needs to be attached to a section of the casting that has the highest modulus value. The modulus of the riser should be equal to or greater than that of the casting to which it is attached. This, in theory, will allow any contraction that is taking place as the casting solidifies to be fed by a pool of molten liquid metal in the riser, and thus prevent shrinkage from occurring, as illustrated in the following figure:

Since modulus is defined as volume / surface area, the units generally used are as follows: English Units: in.3 / in.2 = in. Metric Units: cm3 / cm2 = cm

The Riser Design Wizard calculates an effective modulus, or thermal modulus, from the results of a simulation. This approach gives a modulus value equivalent to the volume:surface area ratio for each point within a casting, depending on how the casting solidified. This is

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considerably more accurate than the traditional approach of estimating volumes and surface areas of a casting through manual calculations. Another consideration for proper riser design is how much liquid metal is required by the casting, and how much a riser of a given size can deliver. The amount required by the casting is a function of the volume of the feeding area and the contraction of the alloy. The amount of metal which can be delivered by a riser is a function of its Riser Efficiency; a riser which has an efficiency of 15%, for example, can deliver 15% of its total volume of metal to feed the contraction which is occurring in both the casting and the riser. An illustration of two common riser types and typical values which might be used for efficiency, measured as the amount of feed metal delivered, is as follows:

Riser efficiency has been estimated a number of different ways. Two of these are incorporated into the Riser Design Wizard:
1.

AFS Method: AFS/CMI publishes a handbook entitled Basic Principles of Gating and Risering. This handbook contains Figure 8.2, Surface Area to Volume Relationships for Various Riser Types. This chart shows the appropriate ratio of Riser:Casting volume for various Riser:Casting modulus ratios and various types of risers. A Riser Efficiency Factor can be derived from this chart which gives the efficiency of a specific riser attached to a specific casting. This is the default efficiency which is used in the Riser Design Wizard.

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2. Wlodawer Method: A number of foundry engineers use an approach pioneered by Wlodawer, who defined an efficiency according to the following equation: (Vc + Vr) s = Vr E Where Vc = volume of casting Vr = volume of riser E= Efficiency of riser(%) s= shrinkage of alloy (%) Rearranging terms in this equation, the required riser volume is Vr = Vc / (E/s - 1) Most people using the Wlodawer approach assume a specific efficiency (E) for a specific type of riser. These assumed efficiencies are built into the Riser Design Wizard for unsleeved risers, insulating sleeves and exothermic sleeves. You can also enter a different riser efficiency factor, based on your experience with a particular type of riser. It should be noted that the Riser Design Wizard uses the Critical Fraction Solid point on the alloy curves to determine the amount of shrinkage that the alloy undergoes. This value can be read on the alloy curve at the CFS point; note that it may be substantially lower than the value of the shrinkage entered in "System Parameters/Alloy Curves" at the beginning of the simulation.

USING THE RISER DESIGN WIZARD


To use the Riser Design Wizard, you should first run a simulation of a casting model with no risers or feeders attached. You may optionally include gating in this model in order to take into account temperature distribution within the casting due to filling. You may also include such items as chills, if you plan to use these and want their effect to taken into account when designing the risers.

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As an example, consider the casting model shown on the previous page. Here we have a model of a casting only, with no risers, gating or chills. The first step is to mesh this casting model and run a simulation. Hints: In order to make this step quicker, there are some things that we can do to make the simulation run faster than normal. First of all, since riser calculations are generally not as exacting as a full simulation, we can generally mesh the casting model with fewer (larger) nodes to create a coarser mesh which runs faster. Also, the Material Density (volumetric) calculations are not used when analyzing the results for riser design. Therefore, from the main SOLIDCast menu you can select Tools System Parameters Model & Sim and set the Volumetric Calculation Interval to a high number (for example, 1000). This will cause the volumetric calculations to be performed less frequently during the simulation, and will speed up the overall speed of the simulation. Be sure to reset this entry to a normal setting (the normal value is 10) before running any other simulations, or your Material Density results will be unusable. It is important to remember that you should place mold material around the casting model that is representative of the type of mold material that will be used to produce the casting. Normally, you should surround the casting completely with the mold material this means that, if you are creating a mold during meshing, you should have the Open Top option turned OFF. Also, if you are creating a shell around the casting model as in investment casting, the shell thickness should be representative of the actual shell thickness, and you should run the View Factor Calculation on the meshed model prior to running the simulation. Also, be sure to allow the simulation of the casting to run until the casting is 100% solid. This is the default setting when starting a simulation. Once the simulation has completed, double-click the Simulation entry on the Project Tree (on the left side of the screen). This displays the Simulation Status window as shown in the example below; the status should say Complete as shown.

Close this window to proceed to the next step.

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At the SOLIDCast main menu, select Simulation. You will see an entry on the sub-menu which is titled Riser Design Wizard, as shown in the image below:

Select Riser Design Wizard from the menu. The following screen should appear:

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This is the initial introduction screen for the Riser Design Wizard. If you dont want this screen to appear each time you start the Wizard, just click on the box labeled Do not show this step next time. Notice at the bottom of this window are a set of buttons labeled Cancel, Back, Next, and Finish. These are the buttons that you can use to navigate through the wizard to perform its functions. Now click on the button labeled Next. You will see the following:

This screen allows you to perform one of two functions: 1. Calculate and display modulus values throughout the casting. 2. Calculate and display separate feeding areas within the casting, and design a riser for each of these areas.

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CALCULATING AND DISPLAYING MODULUS VALUES
This feature allows you to view modulus values throughout the casting. This can be useful as a way of visualizing which portions of the casting will freeze in which order, and identifying which sections of the casting are heaviest from a thermal standpoint. This information can also be of value for process information; for example, in some iron casting processes, the modulus value is part of determining how much expansion might occur, and whether a given casting is a good candidate for production as a riserless casting. To view modulus values, on the window click the selection which is labeled Calculate and Display Casting Modulus. The window should change so that it appears as follows:

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Now, just click the Next button. The modulus values within the casting will be calculated, and the following window will appear:

This window allows you to select which option you want to use to plot the values of modulus that have just been calculated. Probably the most convenient option to view these values is the IsoSurface plot type, although you can select CASTPIC or Cut-Plane also if you prefer. Once you have selected the type of plot, click the Next button. The following screen should appear (this will vary depending on the type of plot that you have selected):

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This is a standard Iso-Surface type of plot that you could select manually as a normal SOLIDCast function. Notice that the modulus data has been placed into the Custom-High criterion function. Notice also that the system has suggested a plot value for modulus plotting. If we just click the OK button, this value will be plotted as follows:

This shows two obvious heavy areas within the casting. If we plot a higher value of modulus (close to the maximum value), the areas of very highest modulus values will be shown. This is done in the normal way, selecting Simulation from the menu at the top, and then selecting Plot Iso Surface, entering the value to plot, and clicking on the OK button. Doing this for a higher value of modulus will show the following:

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This allows us to plot various values to examine what might be happening in this casting. Keep in mind that we are plotting modulus values, which indicate the heaviness of various sections within the casting and the order in which these sections will likely solidify. How do you get back to the Riser Design Wizard after plotting various values of modulus in SOLIDCast? Notice on the Windows Taskbar that there is a button labeled SOLIDCast Riser Design Wizard. This means that the wizard is still active while you are plotting.

To get back to the wizard, simply click on the button on the SOLIDCast Riser Design Wizard Taskbar as shown. This will restore the wizard on the screen, and it will appears as follows:

Now, to perform other tasks with the Riser Design Wizard, we can just click the Back button until we get to the desired screen. If you wanted to exit the Riser Design Wizard at this point, you could click the Finish or Cancel buttons.

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DESIGNING RISERS
As mentioned in the previous section, the first screen that you see after the initial Introduction screen for the Riser Design Wizard is the following:

The previous section showed us how to calculate and display the casting modulus. Now we will learn to use the Riser Design Wizard to actually design risers for a casting. This is done by selecting the option titled Design Risers as shown above. When the Design Risers option is selected, the Riser Design Wizard will first perform a calculation of modulus values. It then uses pattern-recognition software to identify separate feeding areas within the casting (consisting of isolated areas of higher modulus values), each of which may require a separate riser.

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You will notice that on the Design Risers screen there is a slider bar labeled SENSITIVITY. This bar determines how sensitive the pattern-recognition software is in identifying isolated areas requiring feeding. There is also a check box which is labeled Single Riser. These selections will determine how many risers are identified as being required for a casting, as follows:

When the slider bar is moved to the left, this indicates LOW SENSITIVITY. At this setting, only larger isolated areas will be identified as being separate feed areas requiring a riser. Very small isolated areas will be ignored. This setting would typically be used for Heavy Section Castings. When the slider bar is moved to the right, this indicates HIGH SENSITIVITY. At this setting, even very small isolated areas will be identified as being separate feed areas requiring a riser. This setting would typically be used for Light Section Castings. When Single Riser is selected, the system will consider only one riser for the entire casting, regardless of how many separate feed areas occur within the casting. This selection should be used with some caution.

It may take some experimentation with castings of various types to determine the appropriate settings for the castings that you are producing. One approach is to try analyzing a casting at both the LOW SENSITIVITY and HIGH SENSITIVITY settings to determine if there is a difference. With some castings, the results will be the same (same number of risers), with other castings the results will be different. The figure below shows some examples of castings that might be classified as heavy section, intermediate, and light section:

It must be emphasized that, in all cases, after designing risers with the Riser Design Wizard, a simulation of the casting and risers should be run with SOLIDCast in order to verify the design. Designing risers in this way is only an approximation in order to get a starting point for the final design; only by running a full simulation can you verify whether this design is appropriate or whether further modifications to the casting design or riser design are necessary.

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Once you have selected the settings for analysis of your casting, click the Next button on the Riser Design screen. You will see a wizard screen similar to the following:

This screen indicates that, at the settings that were used on the previous screen, the Riser Design Wizard has determined that there are 2 separate, isolated feeding areas within the casting requiring risers. This number, of course, will vary from one casting to another, and also with the settings used on the previous screen. Note that on this screen, there is a message which says Modulus value of 1.007 was used to identify feed areas. This means that the pattern recognition software determined that the isolated feeding areas could be seen most clearly by plotting a modulus value of 1.007. This indicates that you could visualize these isolated areas by having the system calculate the modulus and then plot a value of 1.007 (see the previous section on CALCULATING AND DISPLAYING MODULUS VALUES). At this point, we have two options: 1. We can view the model to determine where these feeding areas are located. 2. We can calculate the appropriate riser size based on modulus and volume requirements. We will examine the second option (riser size calculation) first, as this is the option which is selected by default.

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CALCULATING RISER SIZE
To calculate the size for a riser, select one of the risers shown above and highlight it (this is done with a single click of the mouse on Riser 1, Riser 2, or whichever). You should see a screen appear as follows:

This is the SOLIDCast Riser Calculator. There are a variety of displayed values and calculation buttons. The meaning of each of these is as follows: Casting Modulus This is the maximum modulus of the casting within the feeding area which this riser is intended to feed. It is NOT necessarily the maximum modulus within the casting. Normally, you would want the riser to have a modulus value equal to or greater than this Casting Modulus, for proper directional solidification. Casting Volume This is the volume of the casting within the feeding area which this riser is intended to feed. This will be an important consideration in the design of this riser. The riser must be able to provide enough volume of feed metal to compensate for the contraction which will occur in this casting volume.

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Riser:Casting Modulus Ratio This indicates the ratio of the modulus of the riser to the modulus of the casting. A typical value would be 1.2. The wizard initially defaults to this value. You may enter a different value if you want. Remember, for proper functioning of the riser, its modulus should normally be equal to or greater than that of the portion of the casting to which it is attached. Required Riser Modulus This is a calculated field giving the modulus that you will require for this riser. Its formula is: Casting Modulus X Riser:Casting Modulus Ratio Riser Modulus Increase Factor This is a factor which is to be applied to the riser modulus based on whether the riser is unsleeved, has an insulated sleeve, or an exothermic sleeve. The concept here is that a sleeve acts to insulate the riser and reduce heat transfer to the mold. The effect is as though the surface area of the riser has been reduce, thus the effective modulus of the riser has been increased. Riser Design uses a set of built-in factors, depending on whether you select No Sleeve, Insulating Sleeve or Exothermic Sleeve. You can also enter your own factor into this field if you dont wish to use the built-in factors. Riser Diameter This is the diameter of a cylindrical riser. It can be the result of a calculation, or it can be entered manually (see the following section on Calculation Buttons). Riser Height This is the height of a cylindrical riser. It can be the result of a calculation, or it can be entered manually (see the following section on Calculation Buttons). Actual Riser Modulus This is the actual modulus calculated for a riser with a given height and diameter. Height:Diameter Ratio This is the ratio of the height to the diameter the riser. It can be the result of a calculation, or it can be entered manually (see the following section on Calculation Buttons). Actual Riser Volume This is the calculated volume of the riser, given its height and diameter.

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Required Riser Volume This is the volume which is required for this riser, given the casting volume, the amount of contraction of the alloy (measured from the volume change curve at the CFS point) and the efficiency of the riser. Riser Efficiency Factor This is the stated efficiency for the riser, which is a measure of the percent of liquid metal that the riser is able to supply to the casting. This can be based on the AFS/CMI curves for riser type, or on the Wlodawer approach (see the section on BASIC CONCEPTS). You can also enter your own factor depending on the specific type of riser you are using, and your experience. For example, there are some exothermic mini-risers which are stated to have an efficiency of 80%; you could enter 80 here to perform calculations for this type of riser. When you select a specific type of riser (No Sleeve, Insulating Sleeve or Exothermic Sleeve) the efficiency is filled in for you; the value depends on whether you have elected to use the AFS/CMI approach or the Wlodawer approach. As stated, however, you can enter a different efficiency if you like. Use Wlodawer This check box allows you to select whether you want to use the Wlodawer approach or the AFS/CMI approach for the Riser Efficiency Factor. If this is checked, then typical values for the Wlodawer approach will be placed in the Riser Efficiency Factor box. If this is not checked, then values derived from the AFS/CMI curves will be used (see the section on BASIC CONCEPTS). Calculation Buttons These buttons perform the actual work of designing risers in the Riser Design Wizard. They function as follows:

Enter Riser Height. The system will calculate the riser size based on the Required Riser Modulus and display: Riser Diameter Actual Riser Modulus Height:Diameter ratio Actual Riser Volume Required Riser Volume Be sure to check the Actual Riser Volume against the Required Riser Volume. If the Actual Riser Volume is less than Required Riser Volume, then a message will appear which indicates RISER VOLUME TOO SMALL. In this case, you will need to increase the riser dimensions.

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Enter Riser Diameter. The system will calculate the riser size based on the Required Riser Modulus and display: Riser Height Actual Riser Modulus Height:Diameter ratio Actual Riser Volume Required Riser Volume Be sure to check the Actual Riser Volume against the Required Riser Volume. If the Actual Riser Volume is less than Required Riser Volume, then a message will appear which indicates RISER VOLUME TOO SMALL. In this case, you will need to increase the riser dimensions.

Enter Riser Height and Riser Diameter. The system will calculate the riser modulus and volume and display: Actual Riser Modulus Height:Diameter ratio Actual Riser Volume Required Riser Volume Be sure to check the Actual Riser Volume against the Required Riser Volume. If the Actual Riser Volume is less than Required Riser Volume, then a message will appear which indicates RISER VOLUME TOO SMALL. In this case, you will need to increase the riser dimensions.

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Enter Height:Diameter Ratio. This is entered as a single number, for example 1, 1.5 or 2. The system will calculate the riser size based on the Required Riser Modulus and display: Riser Diameter Riser Height Actual Riser Modulus Height:Diameter ratio Actual Riser Volume Required Riser Volume Be sure to check the Actual Riser Volume against the Required Riser Volume. If the Actual Riser Volume is less than Required Riser Volume, then a message will appear which indicates RISER VOLUME TOO SMALL. In this case, you will need to increase the riser dimensions.

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Example #1: Select Exothermic Sleeve AFS/CMI curves used for Riser Efficiency Factor (Use Wlodawer turned off) Enter Height:Diameter ratio of 1.5 Press

The result appears as follows:

This gives us the Riser Diameter and Riser Height for this riser. Note that the message RISER VOLUME OK appears in the lower right corner. This indicates that the Actual Riser Volume is greater than the Required Riser Volume.

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Example #2: Select No Sleeve AFS/CMI curves used for Riser Efficiency Factor (Use Wlodawer turned off) Enter Height:Diameter ratio of 1.5 Press

The result appears as follows:

This gives us the Riser Diameter and Riser Height for this riser. However, note that the message RISER VOLUME TOO SMALL appears in the lower right corner. This indicates that the Actual Riser Volume is less than the Required Riser Volume. At this point, it would be necessary to increase the riser size with a larger diameter or height (or both), and then click:

To determine whether the riser volume is now adequate.


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After performing this calculation for Riser 1, we can press the Back button to return to the previous screen. Here, we select Riser 2 as shown

and then click on the Next button to perform design calculations for Riser 2. In this case, we would again see a screen as follows:

From this screen, riser calculations can be performed for Riser 2.


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By selecting the Next and Back buttons, it is possible to perform calculations for each riser which has been identified by the Riser Design Wizard. When calculations have been performed for the last riser, then from the Riser Calculator screen (the screen shown above) you can press the Next button. The following will appear:

Using this screen, you can export your riser data to a file which can then be loaded into an Excel spreadsheet. You can pick the file name by clicking on the small button with three dots (). The following will appear:

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Enter the name in the File name field below and click the Save button. This will create a type of file called a Comma Separated Variable file (.csv). This file can be loaded directly into Excel or other spreadsheet programs. For example, in this case, starting Excel and loading the file called RisDat.csv would display the following data:

Slightly modifying the title cells for readability, this can appear as follows:

You can then save this as a normal Excel spreadsheet (.xls file) for later reference. Note: The Riser Type number in this spreadsheet refers to the following: Type 1 = No Sleeve Type 2 = Insulating Sleeve Type 3 = Exothermic Sleeve

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You will find that if you have performed Riser Design calculations for a simulation, the Riser Design Wizard will retain these calculations. The next time that you activate the Riser Design Wizard for this simulation, you will see the following screen:

Notice that this screen contains the message Saved Data Present, and allows you to select whether you want to use the saved data from the previous calculations. If you select Use Saved Data, then the design calculations as they were previously performed will be displayed. If you select Generate New Data, then you will be able to perform a new set of calculations using different settings, if desired.

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PLOTTING AND VIEWING FEED AREAS AND RISER LOCATIONS
Returning to the Riser Selection screen (after selecting Design Risers), note that you have two choices: Plot Feed Area or Design Riser. We previously discussed the choice labeled Design Riser, which allows you to perform calculations for riser size. The Riser Design Wizard can also plot each area within the casting which has been designated as needing a riser. To perform this function, you should select a riser, then select Plot Feed Area and click on the Next button. In the example below, the Riser Design Wizard has decided that three risers are required. We select Riser 1, select Plot Feed Area and then click on the Next button.

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This will cause the following screen to appear:

The Plot Feed Area function actually places modulus data into ONLY the portion of the casting that is in the feed area for the selected riser. Therefore, we can plot this data and view which portion of the casting is to be fed by this riser. Using the above screen, we can select one of the standard SOLIDCast plot functions to view this data. Here we have selected Plot Iso-Surface. We then click the Next button. This causes the standard SOLIDCast Iso-Surface dialogue box to appear, as follows:

Note that the data is placed in the Custom-High criterion function.

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The data that is placed into the Custom-High criterion function is modulus data. This data is placed ONLY in the feeding area of the selected riser. There is no data in the other portions of the casting. This means that we have the ability to do two things: 1. By plotting a LOW value of the modulus data, we can see the entire feeding area. 2. By plotting a HIGH value of the modulus data, we can see the last area to solidify in that particular region of the casting. This will give us an indication as to where the riser attachment point should be placed. As an example of visualizing feeding areas by plotting LOW values of modulus, consider the following valve body casting. The Riser Design Wizard indicated that three risers are required for this casting. Plotting a low value of modulus in each feeding area shows which area of the casting will be fed by each riser, as follows:

To plot each successive area, just use the Next and Back buttons, select each riser, and then plot its feeding area. When Plot Feed Areas activates the Iso-Surface plotting function, it automatically places a LOW value in the Plot Value field so that you can view the entire feeding area.

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The next function that would typically be performed with Plot Feed Areas would be to plot modulus values that are close to the maximum. This shows where the last points to solidify would be located, and typically is a good indication where the riser attachment points should be. For this same casting, plotting the higher modulus values appears as follows:

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Based on this information, and on riser sizes as calculated by the Riser Calculator, risers can be placed on the SOLIDCast model and a verification simulation can be run. The final design model for this casting would appear in SOLIDCast as follows:

FINAL NOTES
The Riser Design Wizard can be very useful for understanding where risers should be placed and what size they should be to properly feed a casting. A few additional notes: If you are using Planes of Symmetry in a model, then the volume calculations required for proper riser design may not be accurate due to the fact that all of the volume of the casting may not be accounted for across the Plane of Symmetry. It is recommend that you perform a Mirror function prior to starting the Riser Design Wizard. 2. In a situation where there is one large area with a high modulus (for example, in a ringshaped casting) you may want to feed this area with multiple risers. In this case, the casting can be sized using the calculated modulus, but the required volume which is displayed should be divided by the number of risers to calculate the required volume per riser.
1.

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UNIT 46: Stand-Alone Utilities


Over time, several stand-alone utilities have been created for use with SOLIDCast. These programs cover many topics; some are used in model building, some in file handling/conversion, and others. With version 6.1, these utilities have been bundled with the SOLIDCast package. When you install SOLIDCast or update the program, these utilities are also installed in your program folder, and shortcuts are placed in the ProgramsSOLIDCast area. You can also create shortcuts to these programs on the desktop if you so desire. With version 6.2, these utilities are accessible while running SOLIDCast from the Tools Menu. You need to have a model loaded first. Then, when you click on Tools, you should see something like this:

The program names, and descriptions of how each one functions, are given on the following pages.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM : Convert ASCII STL to Binary - STLConvert.exe


This program converts an ASCII format STL file to a BINARY format STL file. STL file formats are normally either binary or ASCII. A binary file contains data which is encoded. An ASCII file is a text file. If you open an ASCII STL file with a text editor (like Windows WordPad) you will see readable data like the following:
solid 139_6106_CAM facet normal 1.000000e+00 0.000000e+00 0.000000e+00 outer loop vertex 6.000000e+01 1.450745e+02 -2.920325e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.450745e+02 -9.229675e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.680000e+02 -9.975000e+01 endloop endfacet facet normal 0.000000e+00 -3.091782e-01 -9.510041e-01 outer loop vertex -2.090000e+01 1.680000e+02 -9.975000e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.680000e+02 -9.975000e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.450745e+02 -9.229675e+01 endloop endfacet facet normal 1.000000e+00 0.000000e+00 0.000000e+00 outer loop vertex 6.000000e+01 1.680000e+02 -2.175000e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.450745e+02 -2.920325e+01 vertex 6.000000e+01 1.680000e+02 -9.975000e+01 endloop endfacet

A binary file will be unreadable if opened with a text editor. SOLIDCast requires that STL files be in binary format in order to be loaded as shapes. Therefore, if you have an ASCII STL file, you need to convert it to binary format before using it. This can be done with the STLConvert program.

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To use this program, first double-click on the STLConvert.exe icon. You will see a screen like the following:

Navigate to the STL file you want to convert, and select it in the file list window as shown below:

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Now click the Convert button. You will be asked to enter a name for the new binary STL file to be created:

Enter a name for the new file. (The original file will be maintained.) Then click the OK button. The system will verify that you want to do this by displaying the following:

Click the Proceed button. A new file will be created in binary format from the ASCII file. The Percent Complete and number of triangles processed will be displayed during the conversion process. When this is finished, the new binary file will exist in the same folder as the original, and can be loaded into SOLIDCast as a shape. Converting from an ASCII format to binary format DOES NOT AFFECT THE SHAPE; the only different is in the way that the surface data is stored in the file.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Create Shell Around STL Shape - ShellMaker.exe
ShellMaker is a program which can be used to create a constant-thickness shell around a shape. The shape around which the shell is to be created is contained in an STL file. The output of ShellMaker is a second STL file which contains the geometry of the shell. This STL file can then be loaded as a shape into a SOLIDCast model, as with any other STL file. In this way, the shell then becomes part of the model and is NOT created using the Shell option for mold creation when meshing. A typical shape created by ShellMaker might appear as follows:

External Surface of Shell

Shell with Casting Visible Inside

Why would we want to have the shell represented as a shape within the model? The primary reason is that this allows us to add shapes external to the shell. For example, in investment casting, we often have insulating material such as Kaowool which is placed outside the shell. Previously, this was somewhat difficult to do using the Shell Mold option in meshing; this required placing the insulation at an offset from the casting surface, and then the shell mesh operation filled in the annular space. However, the insulating material was also shelled over in the process. Using ShellMaker, we can add the shell to the model and then add any external shapes much more easily. In some casting processes, a ceramic shell is placed inside another material such as a bed of vermiculite, sand or plaster; this arrangement can be simulated easily by using ShellMaker. Another potential advantage of ShellMaker is that this allows us to create multiple shells of different materials, if that is how we are creating the mold for our process. ShellMaker may also be used in Permanent Mold processes to create a mold which is truly a constant thickness around a casting shape.

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Using ShellMaker typically would require the following steps: 1. An STL file of the casting around which the shell is to be created must exist. If you have created the entire geometry of the casting, gating, feeders and risers as a single STL file, then you can just use this as the starting file. However, in many cases the casting and rigging are an assembly of shapes in a SOLIDCast model. In this case, you can use the Model2STL Utility Program to create a single STL file of the rigged casting geometry, and then use this file as the input for the ShellMaker program. 2. Run the ShellMaker.exe program. The initial screen appears as follows, and allows you to select an existing STL file around which to create the shell:

3.

Click the Open button after you have selected the STL file that you want to use. You will see the following window appear:

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4. Enter the shell thickness, whether the shell is open-top or closed-top (this has the same meaning as in the Mesh operation in SOLIDCast), the Surface Quality of the shell, and the name to use for the output STL file to contain the shell. Note A: Surface Quality refers to the detail and smoothness of the shell surface to be created. The higher the quality, the longer the shell creation operation will take, and the larger the resulting STL file will be. For example, in the illustration below, the same shell was created using Coarse, Medium and Fine settings:

Coarse

Medium

Fine

The coarse setting produced an STL file that was 228 Kbytes in size. The Medium setting produce an STL file that was 1549 Kbytes in size. The Fine setting produced an STL file that was 4178 Kbytes in size, which is relatively large. For most applications, the Medium setting should be sufficient. Note B: The shell thickness should be entered in units which correspond to the units used in the STL file. If the STL file is in millimeters, then shell thickness should be entered as millimeters (for example, you might enter 10 for an investment shell thickness as expressed in millimeters). If the STL file is in inches, then you should enter the shell thickness as inches (an example investment shell thickness in inches might be 0.41). Also, note that if you use the Model2STL.exe utility program to create an STL file from a SOLIDCast model, this STL file will be created in inches.
5.

Press the Create Shell button. The shell creation process takes two passes and may take a few minutes to complete.

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6. When finished, ShellMaker will display an informational window that shows the size of the STL file just created. This may appear as follows:

7. Click the OK button to close ShellMaker.


8.

Now, you can go to SOLIDCast and load the shell as an STL file. Be sure to make the Priority Number of the shell higher than the Priority number of the casting or any other shape inside the shell. For example, if the Priority Number of the casting is 5, then the Priority Number of the shell should be higher (6 to 10).

9. When meshing the completed model, you would normally select None under Mold Type in the meshing window (unless you wanted to add either a rectangular mold or another shell external to this shell). 10. Note: If simulating an investment process, you would use the ViewFactor Calculation just as you would with a shell created during the meshing process.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Custom Formula - CustomFormula.exe


This program allows you to create a customized formula for plotting a calculated output from the results of a simulation. The formula is evaluated, and the data is placed in the Custom (either Custom-High or Custom-Low) criterion plotting function in SOLIDCast. You can then plot the data with any of the SOLIDCast plotting tools. The formula which can be created with this function is of the following form: Result = K * Te1 * ST e2 * CFS e3 * G e4 * r e5 * LT e6 * LST e7 * V e8 Where K= Constant T= Temperature ST = Solidification Time (min.) CFS = Critical Fraction Time (min.) G= Temperature Gradient (C/cm) r= Cooling Rate (C/min) LT = Liquidus Time (min.) LST = Local Solidification Time (ST LT) V= Solidus Velocity (cm/min) e1 through e8 = exponents applied to each of the above factors By entering the constant and exponents for this equation, this program will evaluate the formula to give the result data for plotting throughout the casting. Entering 0 for an exponent essentially removes that term from the equation. For example, a formula which has been developed for DAS (Dendrite Arm Spacing) in steel is as follows: DAS = 100 * LST 0.41 This can be evaluated for a simulation by entering the constant and exponents as follows: Result = 100 * T0 * ST 0 * CFS 0 * G 0 * r0 * LT 0 * LST0.41 * V 0 After evaluating the equation, you could then plot the results in SOLIDCast using Custom-High to see DAS in the casting. A similar formula for DAS in aluminum that has been proposed is: DAS = 35 * LST 0.333

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To use this program, double-click on the CustomFormula.exe icon. You will see the following screen:

This program requires that you select a SOLIDCast project to open, and then select a simulation within that project. Therefore, the first task is to navigate to the SOLIDCast project which contains the simulation, and select that project as shown below:

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Now click the Open Project button. You will see the Project Tree displayed. Select the Simulation entry on this Project Tree which you wish to evaluate with a custom formula as follows:

Now click the Create Custom Formula button. You will see the following screen appear:

This screen allows you to enter the constant and the exponents for each of the output data items to create the formula. In this example, the formula for DAS for steel has been entered. Now just click the OK button to proceed. The formula will be evaluated, and the data placed in the Custom function. Then in SOLIDCast you can plot Custom-High to view this data.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Iron Property Calculator - VDG.exe


This program gives an estimate of the total amount of expansion or contraction for a cast iron, and the point at which contraction ends, based on the VDG Nomograms as published by the German Iron Society. The VDG Nomograms appear as follows:

By selecting the composition (Carbon, Silicon and Phosphorus) the following the curve up to the Modulus value and across to the Temperature in Mold, you can determine the Shrinkage Time in % of Solidification, and the net amount of Expansion or Contraction. Note that this does not take mold wall movement into account. Additional contraction should be considered for non-rigid molds. Also, this approach assumes that the temperature of the iron is the predominant temperature in the mold at pouring, not the pouring temperature. Note that the Modulus value for a casting can be viewed by using the Riser Design Wizard.

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To use this program, double-click on the VDG.exe icon. You will see the following:

Just enter the Carbon %, Silicon %, Phosphorus %, Casting Modulus and Temperature in Mold, then press the button labeled Calculate Iron Properties. The Shrinkage Time in % of Solidification Time and Expansion (+) or Contraction (-) will be displayed. This information can be used to adjust the volumetric curves for cast iron and the location of the CFS point in SOLIDCast.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Plot SOLIDCast Fill Times - FillTimes.exe


This program places progressive fill times from a simulation into the Custom function so that they can be plotted. This assumes that Fill Material has been included in a model and a mold filling simulation has been performed. To use this program, double-click on the FillTimes.exe icon. You will see the following screen:

This program requires that you select a SOLIDCast project to open, and then select a simulation within that project. Therefore, the first task is to navigate to the SOLIDCast project which contains the simulation, and select that project as shown below:

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Now click the Open Project button. You will see the Project Tree displayed. Select the Simulation entry on this Project Tree for which you wish to view and plot Fill Times:

Now click the Open Simulation button. The following screen will appear:

Click the button in the center of the screen labeled Place Fill Times into Custom-Low Criterion. This will put the data into the Custom area so that it can be plotted in SOLIDCast using the Custom-Low function.

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For example, the following shows an Iso-Surface plotted at 1 second after the start of fill, using Custom-Low:

Note that the progressive temperatures during a fill are not saved. With this function you are plotting only FILL TIMES (in seconds) and not temperature distribution.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Project Viewer - ProjectViewer.exe


ProjectViewer is a handy tool to look back over models, meshes and simulations, to get a summary of their components. When you start ProjectViewer, it will show a screen like this:

You can navigate to the project folder you want to examine, and highlight the project file, which has the .afs extension. Then click on Open Project. You should see something similar to this:

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The project tree will be displayed, and you can highlight a mesh, model or simulation, and the system will display a summary of that item. Sample summaries of a model, mesh and simulation are shown in the following figures:

Sample Model Summary.

Sample Mesh Summary.


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Sample Simulation Summary. If you click on the box labeled Create Text File, the system will build a text file that contains summary information on each entry in the selected project tree. Once created, the system will display the following:

At present, the summary displays cover models, meshes and simulations only. Optimization data and Fluid Flow Simulation data will be added in a future release.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Reduce STL File Size - STLReducer.exe


This program is for the purpose of reducing the number of triangles in a binary STL file. STL shapes are actually a skin made of small triangular surface facets. The number of triangles in a shape can be governed by the output settings of the 3D CAD system which creates the file. In general, when the number of triangles in a file exceeds about 60,000 or 70,000, the graphic performance of SOLIDCast begins to degrade. This depends, of course, on the specific computer speed and video system the faster the computer, the more triangles it can easily handle. We have found that usually about 30,000 to 40,000 triangles are sufficient for 3D representation of most commercial castings. In fact, many castings can be well represented by less than 10,000 triangles. In a binary STL file, the number of triangles can be estimated from the file size. A file of 1 million bytes can hold about 20,000 triangles. Therefore, a file with a size of 3 million bytes (for example) will consist of about 60,000 triangles. The STLReducer program uses a specific algorithm to remove smaller triangles from an STL file while still maintaining a continuous surface. This is basically a compression routine, so the more compression that you use, the more possibility that the surface of the casting will begin to appear warped. However, in many cases a compression of 50% or more will still produce a usable and smaller STL file. To use this program, double-click on the STLReducer.exe icon. You will see a screen similar to the following:

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Using the drive/folder controls, navigate to the folder containing the STL file that you want to reduce. As shown below, select this file and click the Open button:

Next you will see a window which indicates the number of triangles in this STL file, as follows:

On this window is an entry field that allows you to enter the number of triangles to eliminate from the STL file. In the example shown, the original file contains 23184 triangles, and we are asking the program to remove 10000 of those, leaving 13184 triangles. After clicking Okay on this screen, you will see the following:

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This screen asks you to enter the name of a NEW STL file to create. The original file will be maintained, and the new file will be created in the same folder as the original. Enter the name and press OK. You will then see a screen like the following:

This screen shows the progress of the reduction process as it occurs. When the % complete indicates 100%, the program will terminate. The new STL file should then be available to load as a shape into SOLIDCast.

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The following example shows a crankshaft model that has been reduced in size from 65,224 triangles to 45,224 triangles. You will notice some small surface imperfections that appear in the reduced STL file which result from the compression operation. These imperfections are more noticeable when you zoom in closer to the shape as was done here. However, in this case these surface imperfections do not substantially affect the overall shape and mass of the crankshaft for the purpose of solidification modeling; the simulation results should be the same using either of these models. The only difference will be a slight difference in the graphic response time when manipulating these shapes on the screen. One major factor to consider is a situation where these shapes might be duplicated, for example, in a multi-cavity mold. Three of the original-size shapes would mean a total of 195,672 triangles in the total model, while three of the reduced shapes would equal 120,672 total triangles. This may have an impact on the graphic performance of SOLIDCast.

Sample crankshaft: Original and reduced-triangle-count STL files

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Scale Model Size - Scaler.exe


This program allows you to scale a model in a SOLIDCast project. You can enter a single scale factor to make the model larger or smaller. This function may be useful in a family of parts situation, where parts are similar in size but just differ in scale. This may also be useful to correct an error of interpretation. For example, suppose that your system is set to English Units and you import STL files which are in mm, but do not tell the system to convert them. SOLIDCast will then interpret the dimensions as inches. Your model will then be much larger than actual size. You could user Scaler.exe to scale the model down to the correct size (in the case, the scale factor would be 0.03937), without having to start over with the import operations. To use this program, double-click on the Scaler.exe icon. You will see the following screen:

This program requires that you select a SOLIDCast project to open, and then select a model within that project. SOLIDCast should NOT be running when you run this program, as you will be adjusting data within a SOLIDCast project file. The first task is to navigate to the SOLIDCast project which contains the model to be scaled, and select that project as shown below:

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Now click the Open Project button. You will see the Project Tree displayed. Select the Model entry on the Project Tree that contains the model that you want to scale:

Note that this program WILL NOT SCALE A MODEL WHICH HAS BEEN MESHED AND SIMULATED. If there is a mesh or simulation entry under the model, then Scaler will not allow that model to be selected. Now click the Open Model button. You will see the following:

Enter a scale factor to scale the model size, and click OK. A scale factor of 2 will double the dimensions of the model. A scale factor of 0.5 will produce a model which is one-half the original size. The system will verify one last time that you want to scale this model, as follows:

Click Yes to proceed. The entire model will be scaled larger or smaller, according to the scale factor entered. You can then run SOLIDCast and load the model to view the change and proceed with simulation of the scaled model.
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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: SOLIDCast Settings System Info - Settings.exe


The Settings program is a utility to help when troubleshooting a problem with your system. It creates a text file, called SOLIDCastSettings.txt, on your Desktop, which you can then email to Finite Solutions Inc. This file, which gives us a better idea of how your system is set up, how the operating system is installed, etc., can sometimes help us to diagnose and fix problems. When you select this utility a window will pop upon your screen similar to that shown below:

The background is a display of various system settings. The window in the foreground allows you to save this data as a text file. Once the file has been saved, you will be returned to SOLIDCast. You can then email the file to Finite Solutions, along with other details about the specific problem you are having.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: Split Files for Emailing - FileSplitter.exe


This program is used to split large files into multiple smaller files and later recombine the pieces to recreate the file. This can be very useful if you need to email large files, but the receiver cannot accept such a large file. This can often happen if you are making an AVI movie file in FLOWCast, and you have saved the data at small time steps. In these cases you can split the file into pieces, then email them individually. Remember to send along a copy of FileSplitter.exe! When the email recipient receives all the pieces, they can run FileSplitter to recombine the pieces into the entire file. When you start the program, the system displays a screen similar to this:

If you will be sending the files, click on Split a large file into smaller pieces. You should then see a screen similar to that shown on the next page:

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In this example I have chosen an avi file created by FLOWCast that is almost 10 Mb in size. Many email systems cannot handle such a large file, so we can split it using FileSplitter. Highlight the file name with the mouse, then click on Open.

The system will ask how many files you want to break the large file into. Type the desired number into the box and click on Proceed with File Split. The system will then create the desired number of sub-files.
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If the process is successful, you should see a response similar to this:

This section of a directory listing shows the three new files that have been created. They will have the name of the original file, but will have X.spt added to each file name, where X stands for the sub-file.

Once the recipient has received all the files, he can recombine the files into one by running FileSplitter at his end. This time he would select Recombine file pieces into the Original File from the choices. He should see a screen similar to this:

The file listing will only show the first file of each set. If there is more than one file, highlight the desired file, then click on the Combine button.
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If the full file already exists, you will see a message similar to this:

If you dont want to overwrite the existing file, choose No. You will then need to rename the original file before proceeding. Once the recombination process is complete, you should see the following:

When you click on ok, you will be returned to the desktop. This utility can be used for any type of file that you need to make smaller for transport, either via email, a network or even floppy disks! Feel free to use it for purposes other than solidification modeling.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: STL From Model - Model2STL.exe


This program creates a SINGLE STL FILE from a SOLIDCast model. The STL file includes ALL of the shapes in the model. This feature was requested as an export feature from SOLIDCast, so that shapes which are built in SOLIDCast (for example, gating and risers) could be exported to an external CAD system for adding dimensions for a pattern shop. To use this program, double-click on the Model2STL.exe icon. You will see the following screen:

This program requires that you select a SOLIDCast project to open, and then select a model within that project. Therefore, the first task is to navigate to the SOLIDCast project that contains the model, and select that project as shown below:

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Now click the Open Project button. You will see the Project Tree displayed. Select the Model entry on this Project Tree that contains the model that you want to export in STL format:

Now press the Create STL File button. The system will then ask you to enter a name for the new STL file as follows:

You can now select a folder where the new file should go, and a name for the new file. Enter this information and click on the button labeled Create STL File. The new file will be created.

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NOTES: 1. This will create an STL file INCLUDING ALL SHAPES IN A MODEL. This means that if you have sleeves or chills in the model, they will also show up in the STL file. 2. THE STL FILE THAT RESULTS FROM THIS OPERATION IS NOT NECESSARILY ONE THAT CAN BE USED AS A SHAPE IN SOLIDCAST FOR MODELING. IF ANY SHAPES IN A MODEL OVERLAP, THE SURFACES IN THE OVERLAP REGION WILL EXIST IN THE STL FILE. IF YOU IMPORT THIS STL FILE INTO SOLIDCAST, THESE INTERNAL REGIONS WILL BE INTERPRETED AS HOLES (VOID AREAS). THIS PROGRAM DOES NOT TRIM THE SURFACES IN THE STL FILE.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: STL Slice - STLSlice.exe


This program is used to cut a slice through an STL file, then save that slice either in AFSCad or DXF format. This slice can then be imported into SOLIDCast for rotation or extrusion, or brought into AFSCad or another 2D CAD package. A typical use for this program would be to take a slice through a file at the gate level. The section can then be viewed to find out just how big the ingate needs to be to make full contact. When you start the program, the first task is to find the STL file you want to slice.

You can browse your hard drive to find the file. Once the file is located, highlight the file name and click on the open button. A window similar to that shown on the next page will be displayed. This window displays the properties of the STL file, including size and position in the X, Y and Z directions. You can select units, direction that the slice be taken, and the slice position in that direction.

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Once you enter the location of the slice, click on the Make Slice button. The program will do its calculations and then let you enter the name for the file that will be created. Note that you can output the slice in either AFSCad or DXF formats.

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Once you have entered the file name, click on the Finish button. After the slice file is created you should see the following message:

The slice file will be created in the same folder as the original STL file.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING PROGRAM: STL of intersecting cylinders - CylinderIntersect.exe


This program is used create a blended shape composed of intersecting cylinders. The new shape is saved in Binary STL format and can be imported directly into SOLIDCast. The program automatically creates a 3D fillet between the cylinders, based on your input parameters. When you start the program, the system displays a screen similar to this:

The required dimensions are displayed in the diagram, so it is a simple task to fill in the blanks below the diagram, then click on the Create Shape button. A File Window will be displayed, allowing you to select a file name to save the new shape under. This file will be a Binary STL file. A sample window is shown on the next page.

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Type the file name into the line, then click on the Create STL File button. If all goes well you should receive the following message:

This STL file can then be imported into SOLIDCast in the same way as any other STL file. An example file in the Model Builder is shown on the next page.

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This utility can be used to help construct pieces of manifolds, etc. that have blended or filleted connections. To create a cored section, simply run the utility twice, adjusting for inside and outside dimensions. The core section should then be imported into SOLIDCast with a higher priority number(closer to 1) so that when meshing occurs, the core removes metal.

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UNIT 47: Gating Design Wizard


The SOLIDCast Gating Design Wizard is an integrated function of the SOLIDCast system, as of Version 6.2 of SOLIDCast. The Gating Design Wizard allows you to size sprues, runners and gates for either horizontally-gated or vertically-gated castings, using generally recognized methods for calculation of these gating system components. Basic Theory of Gating Design The basic idea in gating design is actually very simple. One starts by estimating the Fill Time required for a casting. This may be based on experience with certain types of castings. It may also be based on a calculation involving the weight poured, the type of alloy and the critical section thickness to be poured; the Gating Design Wizard contains such a calculation as a built-in function. Knowing the Fill Time, and given the weight and density of the casting, it is possible to calculate a volumetric flow rate (cubic inches/sec or cc/sec) using the formula: Volume Flow rate = Fill Time Again, the Gating Design Wizard contains this formula as a built-in calculation function. Next, it is necessary consider how far the metal has to fall when it is poured, which gives a metal velocity (using Newton's laws of motion for a free-falling body). Knowing the velocity and the volumetric flow rate, the cross-sectional area of flow required can be calculated (see the equations below). It is then necessary to adjust this flow area for friction loss or shape factors, and finally to apportion this area so that there is the desired rate of flow at all of the various gates into the casting. It is also necessary to establish the choke point of the gating system, so that elements downstream (or upstream) from the choke can be oversized sufficiently to avoid excessive velocities and maintain the choke (the point of maximum velocity) at the correct point in the gating system. This will generally ensure the correct rate of flow in all portions of the gating system, with liquid metal delivered at the required flow rate into the casting cavity. It is suggested that the user consult further references for complete design of gating components and systems, such as the AFS Handbook on Basic Principles of Gating, and papers by Roger Brown of Disamatic.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING The Gating Design Wizard: Horizontal Gating Design
For design of Horizontal Gating Systems, the Gating Design Wizard will calculate sizes of sprues, runners and gates to deliver the liquid metal into the casting cavity. These components are shown in the following example:

Typical Gating System Components


In order to use Gating Design, you must have meshed and simulated a model of the casting. This model may include risers and gating, or it may include just the casting. In the case of a horizontal gating system, if you have modeled only the casting, you will probably want to adjust the weight upward to reflect the estimated total pour weight (including risers and gating).

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To start the Gating Design Wizard, first double-click on the Simulation icon on the SOLIDCast Project Tree (Step 1 in the picture below). This will cause the Simulation Status window to appear. Next, close this window (Step 2).

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Now, select Simulation from the SOLIDCast main menu (Step 3) and then select Gating Design Wizard (Step 4).

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This will bring up the initial Gating Design Wizard window, which appears as follows:

Here we can select whether to design a Horizontal Gating System or a Vertical Gating System. In this case, we will select Design Horizontal Gating (Step 5) and then select Next (Step 6).

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This will cause the initial Horizontal Gating design screen to appear, as follows:

Gating Design allows the user to enter a required fill time for a casting, or the program will calculate an "Optimal Fill Time"(OFT) based on weight, critical section thickness and the alloy sensitivity. If the user wishes to have Gating Design calculate a fill time, then the following must be specified: Alloy Sensitivity - This is specified with the slider bar at the top of the screen (Step 7). This refers to the sensitivity of various alloys to form oxides during the pouring process. Alloys which are less sensitive (low value of this factor) may be poured more quickly. Alloys which are more sensitive to oxide formation should be poured more slowly to avoid excessive turbulence which may expose more of the metal surface to oxygen, thus forming and entraining the oxides as inclusions in the finished casting. Pour Weight - For horizontal-parted castings, this refers to the poured weight (total weight of casting plus rigging). For vertical castings, this weight is intended to be the weight of one casting without rigging. If you press the Get Model Data button (Step 8), the program will extract the weight from the simulation files. Keep in mind that, if the model does not include gating or

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risering, you may need to increase the displayed weight. The exact value of the weight is not highly critical, since the OFT formula uses the cube root of the weight to estimate fill time. Critical Section Thickness - This refers to the thickness of the thinnest section of the casting, i.e., that section which is most likely to misrun. This is what Gating Design uses for its Optimal Fill Time calculation. Enter this value as shown in Step 9. Once the above parameters have been entered, the program will calculate and display the OFT. This is performed by pressing the Calc. Fill Time button (Step 10). As mentioned, the user may also enter his/her own Fill Time as an alternative to the OFT calculation. This may sometimes be the case when process constraints (such as an automatic pouring cycle) dictate a specific pour time or pour rate. To enter your own Fill Time, just enter a value (seconds) into the field labeled Fill Time. Now, press the Next button to advance to the next design screen (Step 11). Once a fill time and a weight have been established, then the program has the initial information required to begin figuring flow requirements. First, a mass flow rate is calculated (weight divided by fill time). Then, using the density of the metal from the SOLIDCast model, this is converted to a volume flow ate (cubic inches or cc per second). The next piece of information required for gating calculations is the height through which the metal will drop. In the case of horizontal gating, this is the effective height of the sprue (the vertical pipe down which the metal initially flows). For vertical gating, this may be the cumulative height from the top of the mold down to each component. In any case, the velocity of the metal after falling through this height can be calculated from a fairly simple relationship: V = (2gH) Where V = velocity g = acceleration of gravity H = height through which the liquid has fallen This formula is based on basic Newtonian physics, and describes the velocity of any body freefalling in a gravitational field. Now, given the known velocity and the known volumetric flow rate, the cross-sectional area of flow of the liquid metal can be calculated simply from the following equation: Volumetric Flow Rate Flow Area = Velocity This is the basic calculation which is used in gating design. When calculating flow areas, consideration must also given to shape efficiencies and friction losses. According to research, for example, a square tapered sprue has an efficiency of around
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74%; this means that an area calculated per the above formula must be increased by a factor of (1/0.74) or 1.351 to account for the energy losses associated with flowing through this type of shape. Also, in flowing through runner systems, the liquid metal loses energy through friction with the channel walls. This friction loss, which is usually expressed as a percentage, must be compensated for by increasing the area of the downstream runner segments. Another concept which is used in horizontal gating design is that of the "gating ratio". This is the ratio of the area of flow at three different points of the gating system: the sprue (the vertical pipe where the metal initially runs down); the runner (the horizontal passages through which the metal runs to be delivered to the gates); and the gates (the passages through which the metal actually enters the mold cavity). This is usually expressed in the form of whole numbers, giving the ratio of the area of each of these points as S:R:G. For example, if the gating ratio is given as 1:4:4 then the total cross-sectional area of the runners will be 4 times that of the area at the base of the sprue, and the total cross-sectional area of the gates will be equal to that of the runners (4 times the area at the base of the sprue). The "choke" is defined as the location within the gating system of the minimum cross-sectional area. In a system with a ratio of 1:4:4, the choke area is at the bottom of the sprue. In a system with a ratio of 4:8:3, then the choke is at the gates (the last number is the minimum). A gating system in which the choke is located at the gates is known as a "pressurized system"; this refers to the fact that there will be pressure behind the gates due to their small area, and the velocity through the gates into the casting will be relatively high. If the choke is at the base of the sprue, then this is a "non-pressurized" system and velocity at the gates will be relatively lower (due to the larger cross-sectional area at the gates). In general, non-pressurized systems are recommended for horizontal gating design.

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The following window should be displayed on your screen at this point:

The Sprue Type should be selected from the options shown (Step 12). This establishes the efficiency factor to be applied to the area calculation for the sprue. For the Horizontal Gating Design program, after calculating or entering the Fill Time, the user needs to an Effective Sprue Height (ESH). The ESH may be calculated based on dimensions of the sprue/gate/casting height by selecting the type of gating system (Top, Bottom or Parting Line) as shown at Step 13, then entering appropriate dimensions (Step 14). This will calculate and display the ESH (Step 15). Note that, if the metal is poured directly into the sprue and not into a pouring basin, then the additional height of the ladle above the top of the mold should be added to the ESH, since this height is used to establish the velocity of the metal after falling to the bottom of the sprue. The user then must enter the Depth of metal in Basin at the bottom of the sprue (Step 16). A basin at this location is used to absorb the initial surge of liquid with a minimization of splashing. The Gating Ratio is entered next (Step 17), a set of three numbers as described above.

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The Number of runners leading away from the base of the sprue (Step 18), and the Total number of gates fed from this sprue (Step 19) must also be entered. At this point, the click the Next button (Step 20) to tell the system to perform the gating calculations and design the individual gating components. The following window will now appear:

This window shows the choke area, the area at the bottom of the sprue and the area at the top of the sprue, based on the data and calculations as described above. Also shown on this screen are the total required runner area, number of runners and the Friction Loss Factor. The Friction Loss Factor will default to 5% when the program is first run, but it may be modified by the user as Step 21 (for example, some people use 10% as a Friction Loss Factor rather than 5%). On this screen, you can also select whether to equalize flow through the gates (all gates have equal flow), or whether to equalize flow in the runners (all runners have equal flow, regardless of the number of gates they feed). This is selected as Step 22. Probably the more common practice is to equalize flow through the gates. Note that for runners which feed multiple gates, in order to equalize flow in the gates it is common practice to "step down" the runner, i.e., reduce its cross-sectional area after each gate in

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order to try to equalize the flow to each gate. The amount by which each section is reduced is equal to the area of the preceding gate. Now press the Next button (Step 23). The Runner and Gate Design window will now appear as follows:

This window will calculate and display the required size for each gate and each section of runner. First of all, in the left-hand window will be displayed a list of runners (depending on how many runners were previously specified). Select a runner from this list by clicking and highlighting on a runner (Step 24). Now, enter the number of gates to be fed from this runner (Step 25). A list of the gates along this runner will be displayed. Select these gates, one at a time (Step 26). Each time a gate is selected, the dimensions for that gate and the required runner size to feed the gate will be displayed below. Assuming that the runner is rectangular, you can enter

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Dimension A (Step 27), click the Calc button (Step 28) and the other dimension of the runner will be calculated and displayed. The same information is displayed for the gate. Enter Dimension A for the gate (Step 29), click the Calc button (Step 30) and the other dimension of the runner will be calculated and displayed. Note that the runner cross-section is reduced for each subsequent gate along a runner, and also that the area of both the runner and the gate have been increased by the friction loss factor to compensate for the energy loss associated with friction. You can keep selecting subsequent gates along the runner (Step 26) until all of the gates and all sections of this runner have been designed. Once this runner is finished, you can select the next runner to design (Step 24) and perform the same operations to design all gates and runner sections for this runner. This process continues until all runners and all gates have been defined. As an optional final step, you can review all data by pressing the Next button (Step 31) which will bring up the following screen:

By clicking on the button labeled View Results in Excel Format, you can see this data in a spreadsheet format. This assumes that you have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer.

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EFFECTIVE SOLIDIFICATION MODELING The Gating Design Wizard: Vertical Gating Design
In order to use Vertical Gating Design portion of the Wizard, you must have meshed and simulated a model of the casting. For vertical gating systems, the model should include only one casting plus its risers, without gating components. To start the Gating Design Wizard, first double-click on the Simulation icon on the SOLIDCast Project Tree (Step 1 in the picture below). This will cause the Simulation Status window to appear. Next, close this window (Step 2).

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Now, select Simulation from the SOLIDCast main menu (Step 3) and then select Gating Design Wizard (Step 4).

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This will bring up the initial Gating Design Wizard window, which appears as follows:

Here we can select whether to design a Horizontal Gating System or a Vertical Gating System. In this case, we will select Design Vertical Gating (Step 5) and then select Next (Step 6).

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This will cause the initial Horizontal Gating design screen to appear, as follows:

Gating Design lets you enter a required fill time for a casting, or the program will calculate an "Optimal Fill Time"(OFT) based on weight, critical section thickness and the alloy sensitivity. If the user wishes to have Gating Design calculate a fill time, then the following must be specified: Alloy Sensitivity - This is specified with the slider bar at the top of the screen (Step 7). This refers to the sensitivity of various alloys to form oxides during the pouring process. Alloys which are less sensitive (low value of this factor) may be poured more quickly. Alloys which are more sensitive to oxide formation should be poured more slowly to avoid excessive turbulence which may expose more of the metal surface to oxygen, thus forming and entraining the oxides as inclusions in the finished casting. Weight per Casting - For vertical castings, this weight is intended to be the weight of one casting without gating. If you press the "Get Model Data" button (Step 8), the program will extract the weight from the simulation files. Keep in mind that, if desired, you can adjust the displayed weight. The exact value of the weight is not highly critical, since the OFT formula uses the cube root of the weight to estimate fill time.

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Critical Section Thickness - This refers to the thickness of the thinnest section of the casting, i.e., that section which is most likely to misrun. This is what Gating Design uses for its Optimal Fill Time calculation. Enter this value as shown in Step 9. Once the above parameters have been entered, the program will calculate and display the OFT. This is performed by pressing the Calc. Fill Time button (Step 10). As mentioned, the user may also enter his/her own Fill Time as an alternative to the OFT calculation. This may sometimes be the case when process constraints (such as an automatic pouring cycle) dictate a specific pour time or pour rate. To enter your own Fill Time, just enter a value (seconds) into the field labeled Fill Time. For the Vertical Gating Design program, after calculating or entering the Fill Time, the user needs to enter the Number of Castings per Mold (Step 11) and the Number of Gates per Casting (Step 12). Under this, the user selects the following: Type of Gate (Step 13) Type of Sprue (Step 14) Pressurization Factor (Step 15) Note that the pressurization factor represents a factor by which the sprue area is increased, in order to ensure that the gating system remains pressurized (which is normal design for vertical gating systems). 10% is usually considered normal. Once these parameters are entered, the user then can design each component within the mold by moving forward to the appropriate window, just by pressing the Next button (Step 16).

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This will bring up the Pour Cup and Sprue Design window, which appears as follows:

The pour cup is designed based on a rule stating that it should have enough volume to accommodate one second of flow, with a minimum dimension of 2.5 inches (63.5 mm). These fields are display only, no data entry is required. For downsprue design, the program needs to know how many gates are fed from this sprue (thus establishing the flow rate through the sprue) and the height from the top of the mold to the top of the sprue (this latter establishes the velocity, and thus the area, at the sprue top). Be sure to include an allowance for a generous radius at the transition from the bottom of the pour cup to the top of the sprue. Recommended design practice is for the area at the bottom of the sprue to be one-half that at the top. These are data are entered as Step 17 and Step 18 above. To continue, press the Calculate button (Step 19). This will display the Required Area and the dimensions at the top and at the bottom of the sprue. If you wish to record this data for later display in a spreadsheet, press the Record button.

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Now, pressing the Next button (Step 20) displays the Runner Design window. This window may be used if you have any horizontal runners in the gating system.

For horizontal runner design, the program needs to know how many gates are fed from this runner (thus establishing the flow rate through the runner) and the height from the top of the mold to the center of the runner. This latter establishes the velocity (and thus the area) of the runner. These are entered as Step 21 and Step 22 above. Pressing the Calculate button (Step 23) will cause the system to calculate the velocity and the required runner area. Assuming that the runner is rectangular in cross section, you can enter one dimension (Step 24), press the Calc button (Step 25), and have the system calculate the other dimension of the runner. If you wish to record this data for later display in a spreadsheet, press the Record button. Now press Next (Step 26) to proceed to the next window.

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The following Gate Design window will now appear:

For gate design, the program needs to know the height from the top of the mold to the center of this gate (Step 27). If there is more than one gate per casting, then the system will ask what percentage of the flow is to pass through each gate (Step 28). For example, the flow might be divided equally between two gates, which would be 50%-50%, or this could be allocated 40%60% depending on casting geometry. This data establishes flow rate and velocity at this gate, which makes it possible to calculate required area. This is done by pressing the Calculate button (Step 29). This will cause the system to calculate the velocity and the required gate area. Assuming that the gate is rectangular in cross section, you can enter one dimension (Step 30), press the Calc button (Step 31), and have the system calculate the other dimension of the gate. If you wish to record this data for later display in a spreadsheet, press the Record button. This procedure can be duplicated for each unique gate within the gating system, so that all gates can be designed using this window.

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As an optional final step, you can review all data by pressing the Next button (Step 32) which will bring up the following screen:

By clicking on the button labeled View Results in Excel Format (Step 33), you can see this data in a spreadsheet format. This assumes that you have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer.

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UNIT 48: Using Thermocouples


The use of thermocouples in a model to record time/temperature data is supported in SOLIDCast, although at this point it is not quite as straightforward as it was in DOS version 4.2. It requires that you add, as an item in the Material List, a material type called Cooling Channel, controlled by a thermocouple. This is done when a model is being displayed, by selecting ModelMaterials List and then clicking on the Mold tab. In the lower portion of the screen is a description of some mold material. In the Name field, enter some unique name (such as TC 1). Then, under Type select "Cooling Channel". Below this, you should see a selection which says Timer. Click on the down arrow and select High Limit. There are then six fields which should be filled in as follows: Temperature ON HT Coeff when ON Temperature (Set Point) X Y Z For the first three, you can enter any numbers, as long as you do not actually make a cooling channel in the model using this material. The important part is to enter the (X,Y,Z) coordinates of the location of a thermocouple to be placed in the model. After you have entered this data, then click on the button labeled "Add to List". This will add the material TC 1 to the Materials List, which appears in a window in the upper right-hand corner of the Mold Materials screen. You do not have to create any shapes within the model which are made of material TC 1. As long as this material appears in the "Materials in List" window, the system will record time vs. temperature data for the (X,Y,Z) location. If you wish to record at a second location, then create a second material (say, called TC 2), enter the correct X,Y,Z location for this thermocouple, and then click on Add to List again. After this operation, you will have materials TC 1 and TC 2 on the "Materials in List" window. You can place up to 8 thermocouples in a model with this method. The following screen shows an example of entering a thermocouple in the Materials List:

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The time/temperature data will appear in a file called TCDATA.TMP in the folder where the simulation result files are found for this simulation. This is a text file, a part of which appears as shown in the following example:
Time vs. Temperature Thermocouple 1 at X= Thermocouple 2 at X= First number in each temperatures at each .0871 .0879 .0888 .0896 .0905 .0913 .0922 248.8058 248.9494 249.0902 249.2278 249.3622 249.4931 249.6203 Data for 2 Nodes 54.166 Y= 30.591 Z= 18.803 in Material 4 -4.772 Y= 24.697 Z= 18.803 in Material 4 line is time in minutes, following are node.

604.8651 603.1430 601.2987 599.3484 597.3069 595.1873 593.0019

The first column shows time, in minutes. The second column is the temperature at Thermocouple 1 and the third column is the temperature at Thermocouple 2. There isnt a plotting function for this data in SOLIDCast, but the file Tcdata.tmp is a text file that can easily be loaded into other applications such as Microsoft Excel for viewing or plotting. An example of a time/temperature plot imported in Excel and plotted appears as follows:
Time vs. Temperature
1400 1300 Temperature (F) 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 0 1 2 3 4 5 Time (Min.)

Plot Produced by Excel

There is a DOS program from Version 4.20 of our system called TPLOT.EXE that can be used if you do not have another plotting program. To use this, just make a copy of TPLOT.EXE in the folder where the simulation result files are located and then run the program. The program will ask that you enter the name of the file (TCDATA.TMP) and then allow you to plot the data.

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UNIT 49: Common Errors


Error 429: ActiveX can't create object This error indicates that one of the component files which SOLIDCast requires in order to run has been damaged, or its entry in the Windows System Registry has been corrupted. To correct this error, run the SOLIDCastUpdate.exe update program. This will restore component files and refresh all SOLIDCast entries in the Windows System Registry. (Be sure to be logged in as SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR if performing this function under Windows NT, 2000 or XP Pro.) Run Time Error 53: File not found This error normally indicates that one of the required SOLIDCast files has been damaged or deleted. The most common file which we find missing is the file called default.mtl, which contains the current set of selected casting and mold materials. It is recommended that the user make a backup copy of all files in the \Program Files\SOLIDCast folder, so that these files can be restored if a File not found error occurs. In the event that a backup copy is not available, the files can be restored by reinstallation of SOLIDCast. This may require a full reinstallation using SOLIDCastInstall.exe. (Be sure to be logged in as SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR if performing this function under Windows NT, 2000 or XP Pro.) Run Time Error 13: Type mismatch This error normally indicates a situation involving different number formats in a different region. For example, in the U.S. a typical number format is 24.395 while a European format is 24,395. We have tried to identify all places in SOLIDCast where number format differences may cause an error; and the program is written to accommodate these differences. However, it is possible that there still may be an isolated occurrence of such a problem. In this event, notify Finite Solutions immediately so that we may examine and correct the problem. Visual Fortran run-time error forrtl: severe (157); Program exception - access violation This error normally occurs just at the end of a simulation. An error of this type usually indicates that the mold did not fill completely with liquid metal during the filling simulation. Possible reasons for this may be as follows: 1. There may be a thin feature of the casting model, which is thinner than the dimension of a single node. This is commonly seen in gates attached to the casting. When this occurs, during meshing this feature may disappear because it is smaller than the thickness of one node; later during filling, there may be no path for the flow of liquid metal from one part of the casting to another, or from the gating into the casting. One solution to this problem is to mesh the model with smaller nodes; this will increase simulation time. Another solution is to artificially increase the thickness of the feature so that it is at least the same thickness as one node. Normally for gates, this will not greatly affect the solidification, but will allow the liquid metal to flow.

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2. If the model is constructed in such a way that there are gaps between separate shapes, it is possible that the system will place mold material in the gap between the shapes, and liquid metal may not be able to flow across the gap. Be sure that in models, all shapes are in contact. It is better to plunge one shape into another, rather than leave a gap. 3. If liquid metal loses heat and solidifies prematurely before the mold cavity is filled, the flow will stop and the cavity may be partially unfilled during solidification. This will be more common in thin-walled permanent mold simulations. Solutions are to decrease the fill time (increase speed of flow), increase pouring temperature, or decrease surface heat transfer coefficients to reduce heat loss. Please note that this condition has been identified and corrected in version 6.2 of SOLIDCast. If you experience this error, it can be eliminated by upgrading to version 6.2 or above. Meshing Error: Mold too thin for one row of nodes This error occurs during meshing, when the user has selected either the Rectangular Mold or Shell Mold options. This indicates that the thickness of the mold is less than the dimension of one node. Possible solutions would be to either increase the mold thickness or decrease the node size. Priority Error: Overlapping materials with the same priority were found This message occurs during meshing. It refers to the fact that two or more shapes of different materials were overlapping in the model, and that these shapes had the same priority number. When shapes of different material overlap, the priority numbers must be different. SOLIDCast will mesh the material in the overlap region with the shape which has the lowest priority number. Priority numbers can be changed by selecting a shape and then selecting Edit Edit Selected Shape. In the SOLIDCast Workbook document, see UNIT 30: Priority Numbers: Intersecting Shapes. Simulation runs but casting does not cool down Stop the simulation and check the setting in Materials List HT Coefficients. If the Use Internal HT Coefficients box is checked, then you must have valid numbers for all material-tomaterial HTCs. If you are running a sand casting or investment casting simulation, normally the Use Internal HT Coefficients box should be turned OFF. If this is turned ON and HTCs are 0, then the casting will never cool down.

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UNIT 50: Setup Files


There are a number of small text files called Setup Files which are placed in the SOLIDCast installation folder to control various aspects of how the system runs. These are modified by either editing or renaming the specified files. File editing can be easily done with a text editor such as NotePad. It is our intention to place these parameters on menus within the SOLIDCast program so that you will not need to edit files to access them. However, at this point in time, the following instructions will allow you to modify these system parameters: Setup File Name: Function: $ftune.300 Controls mold filling simulation for vertical/horizontal filling

If you are doing a SOLIDCast mold filling simulation, the behavior of the filling metal can be controlled to some extent by adjusting a parameter file in the \Program Files\SOLIDCast folder. This file is called $ftune.300 and is a text file. By editing the values in this file, you can make the behavior of the filling more appropriate to various types of filling scenarios. For a typical horizontal gating situation, the parameters in this file would be as follows:
0.50 1.0 0 0 .33 0.2 1 1 1

For a vertical gating situation or one in which the metal is poured into the cavity via a vertical drop, the parameters in this file might be adjusted as follows:
0.50 3.0 0 0 .10 0.06 1 1 1

If the file $ftune.300 does not exist, then the system will assume the horizontal type of filling parameter for mold filling.

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Setup File Name: Function: $HTred.410 Reduces mold/metal heat transfer coefficient(HTC) at the solidus point in permanent mold simulations

Some research has suggested that the Heat Transfer Coefficient at the surface between the mold and the casting decreases as a step function at the solidus point in permanent mold processes. The best fit to this data indicates that the HTC decreases to 30% of its starting value. This effect can be simulated by placing a file called $Htred.410 in the SOLIDCast program folder prior to running the simulation. This is a text file which contains a single number that is a factor for the HTC at the solidus point. For example, if this file contains the number 0.3, then the surface HTC will be multiplied by 0.3 (a reduction of 70%) when solidus is reached at each surface node. If this file does not exist, SOLIDCast will assume no reduction in HTC. Setup File Name: Function: $tcinc.500 Specifies the number of time steps between data collection for thermocouples

If you are using thermocouples in your model, the default action of the system is to record time/temperature data at each time step. By adding a file called $tcinc.500 in the SOLIDCast program folder, you can tell the system to record this data less often. $tcinc.500 is a text file which contains a single integer number. This number tells the system how many time steps to increment before recording a time/temperature data point for any thermocouples. For example, if this file contains the number 10, then data will be recorded every 10 time steps. This means that the file of time/temperature data will be 1/10th as large as recording every time step. If this file does not exist, SOLIDCast will assume every time step. Setup File Name: Function: $LPM.500 Reverses gravity direction for low-pressure permanent mold simulation

SOLIDCast checks to see if the file $lpm.500 exists in the SOLIDCast folder. If so, then the current simulation is assumed to be a low-pressure Permanent Mold simulation. This means that the direction of gravity will be reversed 180 degrees when the filling is complete, so that feeding of liquid metal will be done by the pressure from below rather than the force of gravity. This affects the indications as given by the Material Density Function. $LPM.500 does not need to contain anything specific; it just needs to exist as a file in the SOLIDCast folder.

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Setup File Name: Function: $FTRNS.410 Specifies a temperature at which feeding transitions from gravity to thermal center feeding

This feature is primarily used, at the moment, for riserless iron castings. The file $FTRNS.410 contains a temperature in degrees F. Above this temperature, feeding occurs under the influence of gravity. Below this temperature, feeding occurs outward from thermal centers. We intend to expand this type of capability to other alloys.

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UNIT 51: Modeling Heat Treat Processes


SOLIDCast can be used to model the heating of a casting in a heat treat oven or furnace. This can be done as follows: 1. Create Mold Material (using Normal Mold type) that has the same properties as that of the cast alloy. 2. Create or import the casting model, and designate it to be made of this Mold Material. 3. Set the ambient temperature to the oven or furnace temperature (see below for variable ambient temperatures) 4. Set an appropriate HTC as the external HTC, based on air velocity (see chart below) 5. Its usually a good idea to place thermocouples in areas of interest in the casting. 6. Mesh the model with no mold. 7. Run a simulation, specifying a time to stop in minutes. Some typical Surface Heat Transfer Coefficients vs. Air Velocity are given below:

HTC vs. Air Velocity (External Flow) 70 60 HTC (BTU/hr-sqft-F) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 Air Velocity (ft/sec)

2" Shape 4" Shape

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Time-Variable Furnace Temperature: It is possible to vary the ambient temperature around a model for the purpose of simulating various heating cycles in heat treatment. To use this feature, you need to create a text file in the c:\Program Files\SOLIDCast folder with the name $tamb.500. This file describes the time and temperature steps that the ambient temperature is supposed to follow. This is a text file that consists of a series of lines. On each line is given the time in minutes, followed by a temperature. For example, for some portion of a typical cycle, the contents of the file might be as follows (these values are in C they can also be specified in F if your system is set to English units): 0. 26. 120. 200. 360. 200. 420. 400. 780. 400. The above would tell the system the following: Start at time 0 at temperature 26 C. In two hours, ramp temperature up from 26 C to 200 C. Hold at 200 C for 4 hours. In one hour ramp up from 200 C to 400 C. Hold at 400 C for 6 hours and so forth. This is only an example, but it shows the idea. A few additional notes about Heat Treat Simulation: We have found that if you try to interrupt a simulation that contains no actual casting material, an error occurs. We have not yet tracked this error down. What does seem to work is to run this and specify a time at which the simulation stops, then just allow the simulation to stop at this point. You can then examine the temperature. Unfortunately, you cannot restart from this point, so you have to start again from the beginning. If a small shape of casting material is placed in the model somewhere outside the shape being heat treated, that this satisfies the need of the system to have some casting material and allow a normal type of interruption and restarting. Just a small sphere of casting material, suspended in space outside the heat treat shape, would be sufficient. This will not affect the temperature in the heat treat shape. You would then go ahead and mesh with no mold material. Currently, the only type of plotting that can be done to show the heat treat part (which is considered mold material) is the Cut Plane plot. Also... remember to delete or rename the $tamb.500 file before you perform any "normal" simulations, otherwise your ambient temperature will be varying when you don't want it to.

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