When making investment castings, the primary focus is on the design. This process is often used for more intricate and precise castings, requiring finer details and features that would be difficult to reproduce with any other casting method.
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The most common investment casting procedure is the ceramic shell method. Initially, a mold is made to replicate the dimensions of the desired part. This mold is then filled with an expandable material like wax. For larger production capabilities, duplicate patterns are attached to a central sprue and a ceramic shell is built around the entire piece by repeatedly dipping it into slurry and dry stucco refractories. The wax is then removed from the shell with a high heat firing. Finally, molten metal is poured into the hot molds. After the metal has solidified, the mold is removed, and the castings are ready for finishing.
Due to the fact that tooling costs are relatively high for individual wax patterns, the investment casting process is usually used when high volumes of castings are required. Investment castings can weigh up to 115 kilograms if necessary. A common use for this process is in the aerospace industry, as well as in production of specific military and medical equipment.
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The content of this page was curated for the distribution of industry related information from the Forging Industry Association and/or the American Foundry Society in reference to specific metallurgical processes.