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What is Investment Casting?

Posted on Apr 05, 2020 by Cullen Hikene

What is Investment Casting?

Investment casting is the casting process of pouring molten metal into plaster or ceramic molds with high heat resistance, letting it fill a custom-designed void in that mold, allowing it to cool, and then removing the solidified part from the mold. Relative to sand casting, this process is especially capable of achieving more delicate features. Typically, the pattern used to create the investment casting mold is created by 3D Printing.

3Diligent technologies: investment casting

What are the Different Types of Investment Casting?

  1. Investment Casting
  2. Evaporative-Pattern Casting
  3. Vat Photopolymerization (Resin, UV Laser)

What are the Advantages of Investment Casting?

  • Smooth Finish. The molding materials used in investment casting services account for the smoothness that is unique to this casting type.
  • Almost Any Size. Excluding some factors related to weight and the integrity of the mold, cast parts can be created in a variety of XYZ dimensions.
  • Low Upfront Costs. Both the equipment used to make these parts and the safer nature of the manufacturing process brings costs below other casting methods.
  • Tight Tolerances. Expect values down to +/- 0.1mm

What are the Limitations of Investment Casting?

  • Multiple Steps. Investment casting and post-processing can extend the time needed to create the design.
  • Difficulty Casting Cores. Can occur when feature holes in the part are either below 2mm in length or below a certain % of the entire part itself.

Key Metrics

Standard Tolerance
+/- 0.10mm

Stock Surface Finish
6.3-15.0 µin Ra

Lead Time
8-16 weeks

Maximum Size
340mm x 240mm x 550mm

Minimum Wall Thickness
.6 µm

Conclusion

Investment casting is an established technology in the casting space that is using industry 4.0 technologies to augment its traditional process. Consider submitting an RFQ through manufacturing services such as ProdEX to get started today.

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