Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Investment Casting??

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    The term "investment" refers to the ceramic materials that are used to build a hollow shell into which molten metal is poured to make the castings. This term is derived from the solid mold process where a plaster-type material is poured, or invested, into a container that holds a clustered tree of small plastic patterns that are identical to the casting being produced. After the plaster has set, the disposable patterns are burned out leaving a hollow cavity into which the metal is poured. 

    • What Alloys can be poured in Investment Casting??

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      Generally all ferrous and non-ferrous materials can be investment cast. On the ferrous side, carbon, tool and alloy steel along with the 300, 400,15-5PH and 17-4PH stainless steels are most commonly poured. Most aluminum, copper base, and other non-ferrous materials can be cast.

      In addition, there are the "exotic" alloys used primarily in the aircraft engine industry to produce blades and vanes. These alloys are primarily composed of nickel and cobalt with a variety of secondary elements added to achieve spec

  • What size range of parts can be produced by the investment casting process??

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    Investment castings can be produced in all alloys from a fraction of an ounce (such as a dental brace for a tooth) to over 1,000 pounds (complex aircraft engine parts).  Of the approximately three hundred investment casting foundries nationwide, most cast parts are in the ounces to 20 pound range.  Presently a larger number of foundries are increasing their capability to pour larger parts, and pieces in the 20-120 pound range are becoming quite common.

  • Aren't investment castings expensive? And if so, how can they save me money??

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    While investment castings are generally more expensive than forged parts or those produced by other casting methods, they make up for the higher cost through reduction of machining achieved through the near net shape tight tolerances that can be held as cast.  Many parts that require milling, turning, drilling and grinding to finish can be investment cast with only 0.020-0.030 finish stock.  Again, it is imperative for the engineering staff of the foundry and customer to get together and discuss what can or cannot be cast to determine final finishing requirements and the potential cost savings.

  • When is a part to be considered for this process??

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    Any time a part has extensive machining required or a multi component assembly, are just a couple of examples, of when to consider investment casting for your parts