Investment casting and sand casting are means of producing metal parts by pouring molten metal into three-dimensional molds. Although the methods are of thousand years old, both castings have been advanced over the years to decrease the percentage of metal used and minimize any extensive finishing and machining required. However, substantial differences exist between these two methods of creating metal parts.
Lost-wax casting, commonly known as investment casting, creates molten metal parts. The usual parts produced from this casting method are carbon steel, aluminum, brass, and stainless-steel alloys. The primary step in creating these types of metals is to build a wax version. To achieve this version, it may be done in three ways: carve and replicate the product out of wax, produce a metal mold and fill it with hot wax, or create a gelatin mold around a solid and 3D model. The produced molten metal is poured into an empty frame and left to harden. The investment and ceramic mold are then removed to get the final product.
Just like investment casting, sand casting starts by pouring molten metal to sand-based molds. This method often uses magnesium, aluminum, brass, bronze, steel, iron, and other non-ferrous alloys. The molds are produced by compacting sand around a model or pattern of the final product. The compacting sand is normally mixed with clay and humidified with water.
Due to the preparation needed and complexity of the procedures, investment casting is known to be more expensive than sand casting. However, the latter cannot constantly make the tiny and intricate parts possible with the use of the former method. Another notable difference between both castings is the surface finish. With investment casting, ceramic molds are used to harden the product and the finished parts display low tolerances and smooth surfaces. On the other hand, sand casting requires that the mold needs to be split apart so as to exhibit the final product.
Ferralloy, Inc. is an international enterprise that delivers the metalworking industry with forgings, fabrications, castings, and other related products and services. If you need more information about investment casting, contact us today!
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