What is Investment Casting?

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What is Investment Casting?

This is an investment casting foundry where scorching molten metal is poured into molds and turned into high strength aluminum and steel castings. So what exactly is investment casting? Also known as precision casting or lost wax casting. The investment casting process dates back more than 5,000 years and was used for making art and jewelry over the centuries. Today, investment casting is being seen as the future by many industries seeking lightweight and complex components.

It all begins with the production of a wax model or pattern which is created in the shape of the desired part. However, when time is short, patterns can also be made using 3D printing technologies allowing for rapid prototype castings to be completed much faster. Wax Patterns are typically made by injecting wax into a metal tool or dye. These patterns are attached to a wax tree, also called a sprue, which is used for the mold making process.

The wax patterns are then dipped or invested into a liquid ceramic slurry after which fine sand or Stucco is applied to the wet surface. The mold is allowed to dry and the process is repeated a number of times resulting in a layered ceramic mold.

Before pouring metal into the mold. The wax is removed using a flash fire oven which melts and burns out the wax. The mold is then preheated to a specific temperature to prevent the liquid metal from solidifying before the entire mold is filled.

Alloy is melted in a ceramic crucible using a process known as induction and electric resistance melting. When the alloy reaches its specified temperature, it is poured into the mold and the mold is allowed to cool. Once cool the shell materials removed from the metal, this is typically done using the hammer or high-pressure water blast. The parts are removed from the sprue and the gates are removed from the part. The surface can then be finished using belting grinding or polishing.

The investment casting process produces complex high precision components with an excellent as-cast surface finish, often reducing or even eliminating the need for machining. It is often the only way a part could be manufactured economically.

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