Sand Casting

Sand Casting Process Overview

Sand casting is the process of pouring molten metal into a mold constructed of densely packed sand, letting it fill a custom-designed void in that mold, allowing it to cool, and then removing the solidified part from the mold by cracking the mold open. Sand casting is commonly used for larger parts such as automotive manifolds or industrial brackets. Sometimes, it is appropriate to 3D print the mold using a sand binder jetting printer.

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Sand Casting Process at a Glance

Branded Processes Also Known As
Waste Casting
  • Standard Tolerance
    +/-.03" to +/- 3% depending on part size
  • Stock Surface Finish
    ~600 µin Ra
  • Lead Time
    15 – 25 Business Days
  • Maximum Size
    71" × 39" × 27" (1800mm × 990mm × 685mm)
  • Minimum Layer Thickness
    N/A
  • Minimum Feature Size
    0.3" (7.5mm) – Sand Casting
  • Minimum Wall Thickness
    0.04" (1mm) dependent upon material
Advantages
Reasonably Priced Bulky Parts. Since the material is poured into the mold rather than printed using powder, it is much faster to fabricate bulky parts and with that, less expensive.
Fast Turn. While tooling for heavy-duty investment casting can take months, sand castings can typically be fabricated in a matter of weeks—especially 3D printed sand molds.
Limitations
Sand casting not viable for onesie-twosie projects. While complex sand molds and cores can be made more affordable than ever via 3D printing, foundries generally aren't interested in one-off casting projects.
Surface Finish is Imprecise. Standard finish out of a casting—especially a sand casting—is quite rough. Post-processing is commonly needed, and extremely tight tolerances challenging to achieve due to shrinkage of the metal during the cooling and re-solidification process.
Strength/Durability. Castings are not as strong as wrought metal parts and sometimes weaker than 3D printed parts. That being said, they are still metal and are quite durable as compared to many other material-process combinations.
Example Machines
Custom Sand Molds
Custom Silica Molds
Example Materials
Iron
Steel
Aluminum
Titanium

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