The term investment casting is derived from the process of “investing” a pattern with refractory materials. When it comes to investment casting, the process contains several steps. Let’s take a look at the steps that are involved in a castings investment.
Since each investment casting destroys the wax pattern and ceramic mold, the first step is to create the metal die. The size must be carefully calculated to take into consideration the expected shrinkage of the wax pattern, the ceramic material used, and the metal casting itself.
Since each individual casting requires a new wax pattern, the number of wax patterns produced always equals the number of castings that are being produced. As a result, the wax pattern is an exact replica of the part to be produced.
After the patterns have been made, the actual mold is then created. A gating system is attached to the wax mold and a pouring cup is typically used to introduce molten metal into the mold.
The ceramic mold is heated to around 1000 – 2000°F. This process is done to strengthen the mold and eliminate any leftover wax. After the metal is heated, it is poured into the mold while it’s still hot. Since the mold is pre-heated it allows the metal to flow easily.
After the mold has been poured, the next step is to then allow it to cool and solidify. The time it takes to do this depends on the material used to create the casting and the thickness.
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