How much do you know about stainless steel investment casting? Did you know that sometimes, even if fancy techniques such as pipe bending are being used, it can still be impossible to produce various unusual shapes of stainless-steel products? These irregularly-shaped products that could either be hollow or solid inside them can only be produced through the investment casting process.
The wax patterns are injection molded into a metal die and are then formed into one piece. Cores are used to form any internal features and then these patterns are attached to a central wax gating system to form a tree-like assembly. The system forms channels through which the molten metal will flow to the mold cavity.
This "pattern tree" is dipped into a slurry of ceramic particles, coated with more coarse particles, and then dried to form a shell around the pattern. The process is repeated until the shell is thick enough to withstand the molten metal. The shell is then placed into an oven and the wax is melted out leaving a hollow ceramic shell.
The mold is preheated in a furnace to approximately 1000°C (1832°F) and the molten metal is poured from a ladle into the gating system of the mold, filling the mold cavity.
After the mold has been filled, the molten metal is allowed to cool and solidify into the shape of the final casting. Cooling time depends on the thickness of the part, the thickness of the mold, and the material used.
After the molten metal has cooled, the mold can be broken, and the casting removed. The ceramic mold is typically broken using water, but several other methods exist.
Often times, finishing operations such as grinding, or sandblasting are used to smooth the part at the gates. Heat treatment is also sometimes used to harden the final part.
If you have more questions about stainless steel investment casting, contact your comprehensive engineered product resource - Ferralloy, Inc.! We have been supplying for a global customer base for decades and look forward to helping you get the components you need for the next job site.
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