Investment casting, often known as “lost wax” casting, is a procedure that uses a disposable mold to make complicated products with extremely fine surfaces. Because of the diversity generated in mold creation, it’s a precision process. Sand casting patterns must be split in half and contain internal cores that can be supported inside a split mold that is closed.
Almost any shape carved in wax and coated can be used to create investment casting manufacturers. Although the technique and molding are more costly, the resulting items can be more sophisticated and precise.
Precision machines frequently use investment casting products as operating components. The engine casing in a car, for example, could be sand-cast. Investment casting is commonly used for fans, cams, and other parts with complex geometries, especially those that move and require fine surfaces. Investment casting manufacturers also use investment casting to create finely detailed sculptures, jewelry, and other decorative items with flawless surface finishes.
- Wax or Expendable Patterns
A pattern is a precise representation of the ultimate product to be created. A pattern is created by filling an injection mold, usually constructed of aluminum or steel. These molds can be carved by hand, machined, or 3D printed. Using these procedures to make each part would be more expensive than making a mold and then using a foundry process. Although lost-wax casting is more costly than sand casting, it can be scaled up for high-volume industrial production. Wax patterns may be generated rapidly and in large quantities once the injection mold has been created since they take very little time to cool and solidify.
- Assembling patterns
Wax patterns are made and then integrated into a tree, or casting system, that allows several products to be cast at once. A series of gates and sprues, also fashioned of solid wax, constitute the tree’s structure. The hollow channels that transmit molten metal to make each final product will eventually be formed by these solid wax branches. The tree structures must be carefully assembled to provide quality goods and effective workflows. Many designs can be constructed in the same tree for bulk manufacturing, depending on the equipment at a location and the size of the product. Larger things can be cast independently as well.
- “Investment” mold made of ceramic
The tree structure is then immersed in a liquid ceramic bath after being built. The ceramic is applied to the entire tree and then allowed to dry. These baths are repeated multiple times until a thick mold is formed, allowing each coat to harden in between. After that, the tree is heated to melt the wax, which then drains completely from the mold. The mold is heated to a higher temperature after the wax is removed, and molten metal is poured within, filling the voids left by the wax pattern. The “investment” part of investment casting refers to applying the ceramic slurry.
- Mold eradication
The ceramic mold is broken away once the metal has cooled and set, revealing the cast products. After that, any extra finishing or treatment procedures are conducted, and gates and sprues are eliminated.
- Wide range of application
Wax patterns can be created in almost any shape, without taper, and without harming the end product’s quality. Investment casting can be used to make various goods out of a variety of materials. Products can weigh as little as a fraction of an ounce or as much as a thousand pounds, depending on the casting facilities at a given location. High-temperature pours can also be done with ceramic investment molds.
Investment casting advantages versus sand casting
All casting technologies provide several design advantages, including reducing material inputs and producing structures that would be difficult to achieve without extensive machining or assembly.
We can help make investment casting manufacturersmore efficient and profitable. Because the mold is disposable and wax patterns can be easily removed in liquid form, producers have a lot of leeways when it comes to developing investment cast products. Unlike most molding and casting technologies, investment casting allows for significantly more intricate design capabilities.
Sand casting vs. investment casting
Another efficient casting method is sand casting, which employs sand to create disposable molds. Although it is the most popular casting method in North America, there are some important variances.
Consider the following factors while deciding on the optimal casting procedure for a project:
- Before pouring, sand molds must be pulled apart to eliminate a pattern. A pattern must be constructed with tapers, or drafts, to decrease friction—and avoid the sand mold from being disrupted—when the pieces are split apart to assure a proper mold. Our investment casting manufacturers create durable, reliable molds that never need replacing.
- Design changes can be easily accommodated with sand casting molds. It allows an engineer to change parts quickly and readily after being tested.
- Internal cavities can provide a problem for sand casting processes that rely on cores. A core is a prefabricated shape injected into a mold to construct the interior of the part that does not come into contact with the mold’s surface. 4. Forming and securing a core within a mold might take a long time depending on the shape and complexity of the core—which can be a single component or an assembly of numerous cores.
- Fresh castings can be made faster in sand casting than in investment casting because the pattern can be reused.
- It’s also worth mentioning that sand molds can’t match ceramic hardness even with synthetic additives and great compaction.
It’s also worth mentioning that sand molds can’t match ceramic hardness even with synthetic additives and great compaction. Our investment casting manufacturersproduce sand-cast surfaces with tight tolerances and require finishing machine grinding. Sand casting may create metal components of any size or weight, whereas investment casting needs the final items to be under 100 pounds.