Before anyone can make an informed manufacturing process decision, a clear idea on the project’s design requirements, feasibility to manufacture, and cost has to be established. If your current project requires the production of very intricate components, we wouldn’t be surprised if you planned to use the industrial process called investment casting. After all, it’s one of the oldest metal-forming techniques that allow you to create precision engineering parts that minimize energy, waste, and subsequent machining. However, here are some of the factors you’ll need to consider when choosing to use investment casting.
The Cost of Tooling
When it comes to selecting the appropriate tooling option for investment casting, one of the most critical parts of the calculation is the expected user rates. For instance, if the quantity required is low, you may want to go for another cost-effective alternative because fabricated metal components or cast using other methods can be cheaper if permanent tooling is pursued.
Although it’s highly possible to produce investment castings in a wide range of sizes, the upper limit on that range is less than those of other shaped technologies such as sand casting.
Investment casting is perfect for thin-walled applications. However, holes that can’t be deeper than a 1.5x diameter or smaller than 1/16” (1.6mm). In other words, internal shapes that use cores and are very small can present processing challenges.
Since the investment casting process involves multiple steps, it consumes more time compared to other casting processes. However, the time required to create finished components is shorter than its other alternatives because, with investment casting, the need for additional machining is reduced.
Ask the Experts of Investment Casting
Investment casting allows you to produce versatile and intricate shapes with accurate and smooth surfaces in various sizes. A discussion with a metals expert such as Ferralloy, Inc. can help you drive the best decision.