Investment casting is a centuries-old process that has been discovered in ancient Africa, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Pre-Columbian Mexico, among other places. It is also a time-consuming, multi-step process that requires expertise.
First and foremost, the mold tooling is pre-formed. The molds are then filled with wax, which solidifies as it cools to form a model of the finished part. A wax runner and gating system are used to support a large number of models. This wax assembly is dipped into a ceramic slurry that has been reinforced with layers of sand before being fired. When the wax has dried completely, the ceramic molds are heated to the point where the wax melts away, leaving them hollow.
When the ceramic mold is no longer filled with molten metal, it is heated to a temperature that prevents temperature stress-related breaks from occurring. The metal is poured into the mold and left to solidify. When the filled assembly mold has cooled, it is vibrated, causing the ceramic shell to break away from the cast assembly. Finally, the finished castings are cut from the runner/gating system that was previously installed.
Die Casting vs Investment Casting: Which is Better?
The processes by which die casting and Investment Casting produce parts are very similar in that molten metal is poured into a mold or die that has been pre-shaped. They are primarily distinguished by how molds are created and how metal is introduced into them. In contrast to the complex investment casting process described above, dies for die casting are machined from tool-grade steel to ensure a high level of precision. In addition, when compared to the gravity pouring method used in Investment Casting Services, die casting injects molten metal at high speeds and pressures.
Even though it may seem counter-intuitive to use a process that involves ten or more steps to create and use a one-time mold, investment casting has some advantages over other manufacturing methods. Molds can be used to form a wide range of different alloys, to name a few applications. Second, investment casting is an economically viable method of producing extremely complex or one-of-a-kind parts that would otherwise necessitate the use of welding or other expensive secondary processes to manufacture. Due to the one-time nature of the mold, investment casting is also a better choice for low-volume production.
While die casting is not suitable for high volume production, it is capable of producing some extremely complex geometries and is therefore a good alternative. In addition, while its initial tooling costs are higher than those of Investment Casting Services, its overall production costs are significantly lower than investment casting. Finally, die cast parts are generally more consistently precise than those produced by investment casting, which is a gravity casting process that can result in air bubbles and other similar imperfections in the final product.
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Both die casting and investment casting processes have a number of advantages over one another. Visit the CNCLATHING news page to learn more, and to discuss your upcoming project with an investment casting expert in order to determine which is the best option for you, get in touch with CNCLATHING right away. There are flaws in everything.