Custom investment casting plays an important role in the production of numerous metal parts. It holds a special advantage for companies interested in creating precisely engineered, finely detailed parts with intricate surface shapes and patterns.
The production of customized investment castings has undergone some sophisticated innovations during recent years. Yet the basic process itself likely dates back in time across centuries, making it one of the oldest types of metal component production techniques. Quality investment casting foundries like Bunty LLC usually employ a four-step procedure for pouring molten metal into disposable ceramic molds to create highly detailed parts that require limited finishing.
One of the reasons for the widespread utility of custom investment castings is the possibility to create detailed, ornate metal patterns. Although it is typically used for the production of small components, the process works for the creation of large, heavy cast items as well. As a production method, custom investment casting works equally well for short term and long term manufacturing.
Custom investment castings are frequently used by the automotive, marine, military, medical and commercial sectors, as well as by the power generation and the aerospace industry. Illustrations of the types of useful parts produced through this process include lock mechanisms, hand tools, pipe fittings, firearm components, weapons, nautical components, and turbine blades.
Benefits of Using Custom Investment Casting
Intricate detail: Custom investment casting allows the production of parts with complex geometric shapes and parts bearing ornate decorative details.
Minimal machining: Metal components obtained through custom investment casting typically don’t require extensive machining. Both the precision casting in specific, accurate dimensions and the close tolerances achieved reduce the need for labor-intensive machine modifications during finishing.
Minimal die wear: Custom investment casting causes minimal wear and dimensional changes to permanent metal dies that are used in the manufacturing process. This makes it fit to the needs of customers that require large production runs.
Excellent surface finishing: Investment castings typically display limited metal burrs and other unwanted excess metal protrusions along flash and parting lines. They also boast an excellent exterior quality following finishing.
High strength: This method of production permits the creation of high-strength component parts, which proves especially useful in the creation of some machine components.
Versatility: Custom investment casting can be used with almost any type of metal, including metals that resist molding using plaster or metal dies – such as steels or precious metals with high melting points. It can produce multiple detailed parts for high volume manufacturing and at the same time permits the flexibility of producing one part at a time using “one pattern creates one part” system. However, because of the relatively high tooling costs involved in creating the molds, custom investment casting is usually employed in comparatively large production runs.
Custom investment casting is performed in four distinct steps that require the use of the following components: molten metal, a wax mold, a metal die, ceramic slurry, a furnace or oven, and several finishing machines capable of undertaking sandblasting, grinding, vibratory tumbling, and cutting functions.
A disposable mold is first crafted in the shape of the desired metal component. This is done by injecting specialized wax into the interior of an aluminum die. The result is a detailed, accurately shaped, and stable wax model that may display highly detailed surface patterns and complex geometric shapes. The model can be used as a single piece or it can be attached to a casting tree of other wax pieces connected through a gating system. The latter process is suitable for mass production of components in larger production runs.
The wax mold or the casting tree are coated in a ceramic slurry mixture and then dipped repeatedly into ceramic powder. When the wax is fully covered in a thick shell, the mold is allowed to cure so that the ceramic material hardens and becomes capable of containing molten metal. The temporary interior wax mold is then simply melted away. Thanks to the use of specialized wax materials, no ash is left following this process that would contaminate the ultimate cast metal product.
The next step in producing investment castings involves pouring molten metal into the hollow ceramic mold. Manual gravity casting is most frequently used, but there are also other processes for injecting molten metal into the interior of the ceramic mold, such as vacuum-assisted or pressure casting. Typical metals used in the this process may include alloys of aluminum, bronze, or magnesium, carbon steels, stainless steel, cast iron or specialized nickel-based or cobalt-based alloys.
The molten metal is allowed to cool inside the ceramic mold. The ceramic shell is then broken off and solidified metal part is removed. The component will undergo final finishing procedures that may include cutting, grinding, vibratory tumbling or sandblasting. Generally, extensive machining is not required.
Our experienced investment casting foundry serves a diversified customer base in the US industrial market. Customers select us to perform custom investment castings for them for the following reasons:
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From a contract manufacturing firm, BuntyLLC evolved into a full service custom machined, forged and cast metal parts fabrication enterprise. We supply global solutions from our headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina.Get A Quote