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Investment Casting for Metal Components
Investment casting or precision investment casting is one of the oldest recognized techniques of metal forming. The process can involve using a wax model as the mold, or by using the model to create a copy that could be used for future molds.
Investment Casting Process
- Pattern Creation - Using specialized waxes or other refractory materials, an original pattern is created for the components that are to be generated.
- Mold Creation - The pattern is used to create a master mold (or die) that includes a gating system to allow molten metal to be poured into the pattern elements. The mold is usually made by coating the wax (or other material) pattern with a ceramic or metal shell and then melting out the original pattern, leaving a durable shell.
- Pouring - Molten metal is poured through the gating system and into the mold, and then allowed to cool and solidify.
- Removal - Once metal has cooled, the mold can be broken and the gating segments removed.
- Finishing - The casting is finished to product specifications using a number of methods, including heat treatment, grinding, polishing, or sandblasting.
Precision investment casting provides a variety of benefits, including product consistency and accuracy with close tolerances. The process also allows for a high level of versatility in creating parts that are challenging to manufacture using other forming methods.