As your one stop source for knowledge and equipment, this page recommends the Hotwire Direct equipment needed for a precast-gfrc shop and shows examples of custom decorative precast concrete items. Using EPS foam instead of the traditional wood, fiberglass, steel and other mold materials can save labor, time, and money without compromising on your finished product. EPS forms also are a space saver since the forms do not need to be stored because they can be easily and accurately re-produced at any time in the future from the CAD drawings.
Precast Concrete – GFRC Shop example
A precast shop that wants to do just basic foam molds should start with the 8600 or 8700 CNC. Both are designed to hold up very well in a dusty environment with features like hidden bearing and guide rods, dust flaps, and a positive pressurized power unit to keep dust away from the critical mechanical and electrical components.
To add the capabilities of making bowls for fountains, planter molds, and turned pieces the Rotary Axis is needed along with the turntable and bowl cutter attachments.
To continue straight doorway trim around an archway the 3000 shaper is required. The 3000 Shaper also is used for column caps and bases as well as larger arches.
If your shop is doing balusters in a limited quantity you could make molds on the 86/8700 with the bowl cutter attachment for one or two molds now and then-it works, but it is not as high production and easy as the 2000 Internal Lathe. The internal lathe can do custom balusters and columns.
The 6300 glue gun is also an essential in a precast shop for splicing parts together.
Cast Concrete Examples
The example above was poured into EPS foam molds produced on the 2000 Internal Lathe (balusters), CNC machine (rails, ends, pier caps and bases), 2000 Internal Lathe (Planters).
2000 Internal Lathe Foam Carver
The expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam mold created from the 2000 Internal Lathe wire cut. (2 lb/cubic foot density foam was used.)
The 2000 Internal Lathe is set up with a rigid wire shaped to the profile that was specified in the drawings.
Here is a decorative precast concrete product poured in the expanded polystyrene foam mold. The EPS foam mold could be used raw, but in this case it is coated with an epoxy to help it survive many repetitions.
CNC Foam Cutter
As you can see, this Pier Cap mold is made to come apart easily so it will not be broken when de-molding and can be used repeatedly.
This Pier Cap mold was cut on the CNC cutter and was coated with epoxy.
3000 Automated Foam Shaper
This close up view of the precast concrete planter reveals the consistent texture of pouring directly into raw expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam.
This custom precast concrete planter was poured into a raw, uncoated expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam mold made on the 2000-8 Internal Lathe tool.