What Is Investment Casting?
A typical investment casting process may consist of the following steps:
- Die Construction
- Wax Pattern Creation
- Mold Shell Creation
- Wax Removal
- Metal Pouring
- Solidification and Shell Removal
Investment Casting is a very precise metal casting process that requires a minimum subsequent finishing operation. Due to its ability to achieve high precision, it is also called precision casting. It has sophisticated applications in various industries.
Traditionally, it was known as the lost wax casting process. Lost wax casting is an ancient process of casting a model. It is an almost 5,000 years old procedure and it has gradually improved since then.
Process of Investment Casting
The process is quite elaborate and involves a lot of steps. We have discussed the key steps involved in a typical investment casting process below:
Die Construction: Initially, the designer creates a master die. Manufacturers create the wax model using this die. You can create a model using wax, foam, plastic, resin, or any other suitable material. One can easily make a model using 3d printing as well.
Wax Pattern Creation: Then assemble the individual wax models in a tree structure to form a pattern that can be cast together.
Mold Shell Creation: Once the pattern is ready, dip it into a slurry solution of ceramic or other refractory material. Repeat the process a couple of times to achieve a thick coating.
Wax Removal: Once the shell is dry, remove the wax by using high temperature or keeping it on a furnace.
Metal Pouring: Heat the dewaxed shell to a certain temperature and pours the molten metal inside.
Solidification and Shell Removal: Allow the casting to cool down and solidify. Once, it has cooled down, break the shell to retrieve the casting.
Post-Processing: Finally, the manufacturer cuts off the Individual parts are from the tree and send them for further post-processing, such as machining and surface finishing.
Does Sunrise Metal Provide Investment Casting Service?
No, for now, Sunrise Metal’s main focus is on die casting only. We prefer aluminum die casting production for its versatility, economy, and high-quality. As the demand for aluminum die cast part is on the rise, we are dedicated to meet the growing demand of our customers.
Furthermore, we are a die casting supplier in general, and we have facilities for both Hot Chamber die casting and Cold Chamber die casting. Therefore, we can offer a wide range of material selections for you.
Although we are not an investment casting manufacturer, we can help you with rapid prototyping, CNC machining, and surface finishing of your investment cast parts. If you need any help, you can contact us anytime. We’ll be glad to help!
Is Precision Casting and Precision Die Casting the Same Process?
No, although the names look similar, they are not the same. Precision casting as we have already mentioned above refers to investment casting. The name is derived from the fact that investment casting can yield parts with a high level of accuracy. And, it is exclusive for casting ferrous metal only.
On the contrary, precision die casting refers to the traditional die casting process used to cast non-ferrous metals. The fact that both have the word “precision” attached to them is because of the high accuracy achievable by both the investment casting and die casting process.
Moreover, die casting and investment casting are both entirely different processes. Therefore, the terms are not interchangeable and can’t refer to the other. So, take caution when using these terms.
What are the Applications of Investment Casting?
It is one of the most popular casting processes available in the market, especially for casting ferrous metals, as there aren’t too many better alternatives available. Many industries have a high demand for investment cast parts, including but not limited to,
- Medical Devices
- Power Generation
- Military Weapons
- Sports Equipment, etc.
As we can see, investment casting is well known and widely adopted in many industrial sectors. Precision Casting offers superior mechanical strength and accuracy for a reasonable price when produced in larger quantities. Thus, big industries have a high demand for investment cast parts.
Is Investment Casting Expensive?
To put it bluntly, investment casting is quite expensive compared to most other manufacturing techniques. It requires a substantial initial investment as it comprises a lot of steps and requires careful supervision during production.
However, being expensive doesn’t seem to bother the big industries that much. Because investment casting is one of the most efficient techniques for casting ferrous metal or steel. Due to the exceptionally high melting point of ferrous metals, they can’t be cast using traditional die casting equipment.
So, any industries that have demand for very high strength parts usually go for investment casting as there aren’t too many reliable alternatives available. However, it is always preferable to go for a cheaper mass production technique like die casting if it satisfies your requirements.