Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Printed Sand Casting Molds and Cores for HY Steels

Use of 3-D printed sand molds to cast complex HY steel parts will provide producibility improvements for OR and VCS.


Printed sand molds and cores provide design for manufacturing improvements while offering ordering flexibility for design trials. This project will reduce rework and material handling and increase throughput through a more efficient work flow.


The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is conducting a Navy ManTech project that is investigating the use of printed sand mold technology to produce complex high yield (HY) steel castings for the Ohio Replacement (OR) and Virginia class submarine (VCS) programs. These components are currently produced as steel weldments, which are challenging and expensive to manufacture. Printed sand mold technology offers the ability to rapidly design, produce molds and cast complex geometries that would be difficult, if not impossible to achieve as weldments or conventional castings.

Technical Approach

An Integrated Project Team (IPT) will select a representative component to evaluate and validate the use of printed sand molds and cores for OR and VCS applications. The project team will design and produce printed sand molds and conduct casting trials to demonstrate and prove out the process.


The preliminary savings estimate of converting complex welded assemblies to castings is $1.1M per OR hull and $271,000 per VCS hull. The potential five-year savings for both platforms are $4.1M. This solution also is available to other weapon systems.


Bradken Inc. is expected to use the developed procedure to fabricate HY steel castings from printed sand molds and cores, with implementation planned for the first OR hull and the first Virginia Payload Module at Electric Boat in January 2019.




Walter Smith
OHIO Replacement, CMC and HM&E Component Development Lead
PMS 397


Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
PMS 450 Virginia Class Program Office
PMS 379
Bradken Inc.