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What is the Investment Casting Process?

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What is the Investment Casting Process?

For customers in need of simple to complex parts created from a wide variety of metals, investment casting processes provide unique advantages. This technique uses the lost wax casting processes where a pattern of the part is made from wax.

The wax pattern becomes dipped or coated in a ceramic slurry that hardens to become a mold. The wax becomes melted out of the ceramic mold as molten metal is then poured inside. Once the metal cools, the ceramic mold is removed to show the cast metal part.

There are many key steps involved with the actual investment casting process. Yet keep in mind that it really begins with the customer deciding on the dimensions and specifications of the part along with the type of metal that will be used. When we receive this data and documents, our role in the investment casting process may begin.

Investment Casting Steps

Tooling Design and Manufacturing

Tooling design and manufacturing processes focus on the tooling needed to make the wax patterns. Tooling must also be designed and produced for the water soluble or ceramic cores.

Raw Material Inspection

We inspect the raw materials from the supplier to reassure they are what is requested for the project. We also evaluate the quality of the materials. We also want to avoid purity issues and contaminants that may cause issues during melting and pouring.

Wax Pattern Production

The wax pattern production step involves making wax patterns that are used to produce the ceramic shell molds. To create the patterns, injection molding techniques and injected molding dies are used.

Ceramic Shell Making

The next step in the investment casting process is to take the wax pattern and dip it or surround it with a ceramic slurry. The slurry has binders that allow the ceramic to harden as an even coating is obtained. The ceramic shells harden as then the wax is removed by being melted or burnt out.

Melting & Pouring

The ceramic molds become preheated. Then the pouring process begins with the molten metal entering the ceramic pattern. The molds are preheated to eliminate cold spots that may cause the molten metal to cool unevenly while it fills into all the crevices and intricate parts of the mold. Once the pouring is complete, the metal is allowed to cool as the part is finished casting.

Cutting and Cleaning

The ceramic shell becomes removed to show the cast part. Now the part undergoes a cleaning process where any gates and runners are removed using grinding, cutting, and shot-blasting techniques.

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