Sometimes called the “lost-wax process,” steel investment casting is one of the oldest known metal-forming methods. The technique dates to as far back as 2500 B.C., when ancient civilizations used it to create idols, tombs, artwork and jewelry. In the early days of investment castings, metalworkers used beeswax to create patterns for the molds. Today, a modern investment casting manufacturer uses engineered wax.
Steel Investment Castings Process
- Pattern creation: Each casting requires a three-dimensional, solid wax pattern from which to make the mold. Modern technologies allow manufacturers to create wax patterns using a three-dimensional printing process.
- Mold making: The manufacturer dips the wax pattern into a solution, or slurry, which hardens and creates a mold, or investment. The slurry may contain items such as powdered silica or plaster of Paris. For applications that use higher temperatures, the slurry may include sillimanite.
- Wax melting: After the investment dries, the manufacturer removes the wax inside by melting and pouring it out, or vaporizing it.
- Investment preparation: The manufacturer heats the mold to rid it of any leftover wax and moisture, and to harden the binders.
- Metal pouring: Molten metal enters the investment using gravity, a vacuum or pressurized conditions.
- Divesting: After the metal hardens, the manufacture removes the investment. Removal techniques include hammering, vibrating, water-jetting, media blasting or chemical dissolving.
Benefits of Investment Castings
- High dimensional accuracy
- Smooth surface finishes with no parting lines
- The ability to:
- Create complex shapes with undercuts or unmachineable parts
- Create parts when traditional techniques don’t work
- Work with metals that are otherwise difficult to fabricate or machine
- Excellent for manufacturing parts needed in safety-critical applications
Sinotech is an investment casting manufacture that uses strict quality control standards and inspection practices. Because we complete investment castings at our own factory, we’re happy to offer you some of the most competitive rates on the market. Contact Sinotech to learn more.