- 1 Investment Casting Complete Guide
- 1.1 What is Investment Casting and How Does It Work?
- 1.2 Investment Casting Process
- 1.3 Applications of Investment Casting
- 1.4 What Materials are Used for Investment Casting?
- 1.5 What are the Advantages of Investment Casting
- 1.6 Investment Casting vs Die Casting: What is the Difference?
- 1.7 Factors to Consider When Using Investment Casting
- 1.8 Investment Casting Manufacturer in China
Investment Casting Complete Guide
What is Investment Casting and How Does It Work?
Investment casting is an old-age manufacturing method that is used for creating a wide range of metallic products. The technique has been evolving with time thanks to rapid technological advancement. What is it and how does it work?
Simply defined, investment casting, which is also known as lost-wax casting is a manufacturing technique in which a wax pattern takes up the shape of a disposable ceramic mold.
In the past, beeswax was the main material for this process. In recent years, we have seen more advanced waxes and refractory materials being used for investment casting.
The name ‘investment’ is derived from the fact that the pattern is being invested or surrounded by the refractory material with minimum wastage. The excess wax from the process is collected and reused.
Investment Casting Process
Image of the investment casting process source marketing.metaltek.com
The investment casting process involves different steps and procedures. Here are the steps:
- Creation of the pattern:A designer or an artist creates an original pattern fro different materials such as wax, wood, plastic, or even clay.
However, modern investment casting uses 3D printing for making these patterns
- Creation of mold shell:A master mold is created so that it matches with the master pattern.
The whole pattern assembly is dipped into a ceramic slurry then allowed to dry.
Once the shell has dried, it will be strong and hard enough to retain the molten metal.
- Apply the investment material: If you had used 3D printing for creating patterns, then you will jump straight to the application of the investment material.
The investment is produced by continuously coating and hardening the refractory material until the desired thickness is achieved.
Once the ceramic material has dried, it will become strong enough to retain the molten metal during the casting process.
- Wax removal: After the ceramic mold has fully cured, a dewaxing process takes place. The mold is turned upside down and placed in a furnace or autoclave to vaporize the wax.
Any wax that has remained is soaked and burnt in a furnace. The high temperature that is used in this process increases the strength and structural integrity of the mold
At the end of dewaxing, the ceramic mold will remain with a cavity and form the shape of the desired part.
- Melting and Casting: The mold is preheated to a specific temperature then it is filled with the molten metal to form the desired metal casting.
Any type of alloy, regardless of its properties can be produced through this method. The temperatures for melting will be determined by the properties of the alloy.
- Final operations:Once the casting has cooled, the mold shell is separated from the casting. A knockout operation is deployed to do the separation.
Post-processing methods such as grinding and sandblasting can be performed to ensure that the casting attains the accurate dimension.
Non-destructive testing and inspection are also done before the parts are shipped to the clients.
Applications of Investment Casting
Investment casting has served quite a good number of industries. The ability to cast both small and large solid products makes it applicable in different areas.
Investment casting has a significant impact on the medical field. Prosthetics and dental fixtures are just some of the products that are made out of this process.
These components are used to replace the broken parts of the body.
Transport is another industry that is reaping big from investment casting. Parts of cars, ships, and even motorcycles can be rapidly produced through investment casting.
When it comes to aerospace, components of airplanes such as blades and vanes are manufactured out of this process.
Firearms and military equipment such as airframes and missile frames are products of investment casting.
The beauty and social arts industry also enjoys quite a good number of products that are made from the investment casting process. Jewelers depend on investment casting for making rings and other ornaments.
General manufacturing and processing industries use investment casting for making equipment that will be used in the production of other goods.
Even at home, quite a good number of household goods are made from investment casting.
Overall, investment casting is unlimited. As long as you want to create solid products using metals. The method will come in handy.
What Materials are Used for Investment Casting?
From the uses of investment casting, it is clear that it can work on different materials to produce a solid product.
Some of the materials for investment casting include:
It is the ability to work on different materials the reason why investment casting a versatile manufacturing technique.
The advancement of technology has widened the scope of investment casting. Even those materials that were previously shunned by this manufacturing method are now fully embraced.
Whether you would like to make a large, medium, or small product, all you need is to get the material for investment casting.
If you are not sure whether the material is right for the process, you may consider consulting investment casting specialists for further advice.
What are the Advantages of Investment Casting
Investment casting comes with an array of advantages which include:
As we have seen, the investment casting process can work on different materials to create products.
Most metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous can be fully processed through this method
Different size, shapes, and designs
With investment casting, you can produce any size of a product. The technique can work on a 10-pound product or even a 1000-pound product.
The capability of investment casting cannot be limited by the shape of the desired product. Complex shapes and designs can be produced through this metal casting.
Do you have that unique design that you think it will be impossible to cast? Share it with precise casting experts in China and they work on it.
Unlike most casting methods, investment castings don’t have parting lines. This is possible because only one mold is used instead of the two molds like in sand casting.
The result is a product that is devoid of blemishes. The product will have some commendable levels of smoothness.
With investment casting, you can opt not to have secondary finishing and there won’t be a significant issue.
Investment casting has proven to have a higher economic value than most alternatives.
The technique minimizes the wastage of the material during the casting process.
The smooth finishing of the process also eliminates the need for secondary finishing. This also has a direct impact on reducing the price of the manufacturing process.
Investment casting can be relied upon when you want to create products that have high dimensional accuracy.
Whether you are casting machined parts or fabrications, you will be able to achieve the final measurements without any problem.
Investment casting is an accurate process. It has a very small margin of error(+/-0.005 inch).
With the high accuracy, it means that you will not have to deploy extra machining procedures when casting a product.
When all benefits are combined, the result is a high-quality product that is obtained from the investment casting process.
The part or object does not only have the correct dimensions but also passes the structural integrity test.
Investment Casting vs Die Casting: What is the Difference?
Closely related to investment casting is die casting. While both are types of casting, they are completely two different manufacturing techniques.
Investment casting which is also known as lost wax casting entails injecting wax into a ceramic or aluminum cavity. On the other hand, die casting entails injecting molten metal into a mold cavity under high pressure.
Each type of casting is used for making different products. This is to say that one can be used as a substitute for the other.
Investment casting and die casting also differ in terms of the materials used. Lost wax casting can be used on different types of metals-both ferrous and non-ferrous. Die Casting is limited to the non-ferrous metals only. They include copper, zinc, aluminum, tin among others.
The difference between investment casting vs die casting is also in terms of the design and shape of the object.
Investment casting is capable of producing any design and shape of the object regardless of its complexity.
While die casting is also capable of producing different shapes and designs, it is limited when you want complex or intricate designs.
The cost of investment casting is higher than the cost of die casting. Investment casting entails many processes that end up producing a near-perfect product that may not need secondary machining.
Die casting has a relatively lesser machining process hence cheaper than lost wax casting. However, the product is likely to undergo a secondary machining process.
As I have already highlighted, investment casting and die casting have different finishing requirements.
The precision casting process results in a superior finishing that may not need excess secondary machining.
The product of die casting is likely to undergo additional secondary machining before it can be perfect for use.
The table below summarizes the difference between investment casting vs die casting.
|Investment Casting||Die Casting|
|Can be done using many different types of alloy and metals||Limited ion terms of the metals that it can support|
|Limited part and product size||No limit in size. Supports both large and small objects|
|Can be used for casting complex designs and shapes||Is quite limited in terms of the complexity of the design and shape|
|Expensive than Die casting||Cheaper than investment casting|
|Fine and smooth finish hence no need for secondary finishing||The surface will have rough edges making it necessary to have secondary finish|
|Has high levels of accuracy and dimensional tolerance||Although is also accurate, its levels are lower than that of investment casting|
|More expensive than die casting||Cheaper than investment casting|
Factors to Consider When Using Investment Casting
Are you considering investment casting as a manufacturing method for your parts and products? Before you do so, here are some critical factors that you should look at before using investment casting:
-Cost of investment casting
As we have stated, investment casting can be an expensive process-especially if the parts to be cast are complex.
The cost of the casting will depend on your requirements: How many parts do you want to cast? The type of materials to use, design among others.
The cost of investment casting will also depend on the manufacturer that you are using.
Size and design
Investment casting has some limitations when it comes to the size of parts and products to be cast.
The good news is any design can be made from this manufacturing process.
Material for investment casting
You should know whether investment casting is the right method for processing your material.
The good aspect of this manufacturing technique is versatility when it comes to the material for manufacturing.
Volume of work
Do you want many parts to be processed or are you just planning to place an order for a handful of parts?
The number of parts and products to be cast will determine the manufacturer to choose.
Investment Casting Manufacturer in China
You will enjoy the full benefits of investment casting only if the process is done by experts. The investment casting manufacturer that you choose will determine the quality of the final product.
It is for this reason that we at Castings China specialize in providing accurate investment in China.
Whether you want to get parts of machines or products for fabrication, we have what it takes to meet your need.
We use modern technology and technologies for investment casting. Our robotic technology ensures that the process of investment casting takes less time while at the same time leaves no room for errors.
We are experts in the area of investment casting thanks to our team of experienced technicians. We have an adequate team that is highly talented.
They are able to execute any investment casting project regardless of its complexity.
Backed with high-tech systems you should expect flawless castings.
We also have excellent customer service. Our representatives are always ready and willing to listen to the needs of our customers. We also offer guidance on all the issues that you may wish to know about investment casting.
Are you ready to take that important step of transforming an idea into a solid product? Take that one step of seeking investment casting services in China. As a reputable precision casting manufacturer, we are always ready to work with customers like you!