Investment Casting

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What Is investment casting?

Investment casting (also known as lost wax investment casting or precision investment casting) produces parts with fine detail and an excellent as-cast surface finish. Investment casting produces internal or external features, thin walls, and internal passageways to get to a near-net shape.  These features often lead to significant cost savings in material, labor, and machining compared to other metal casting processes.

In investment casting a detailed wax pattern of the finished part is created and mounted onto a wax "tree" that includes the metal delivery system (gates and risers).  The tree is alternately dipped into a ceramic slurry and sprinkled with stucco material, and then allowed to dry.  This process is repeated until a thick shell exists over the wax pattern.  

The wax pattern is then melted, leaving a cavity within the stucco material in the shape of the pattern.  Molten metal is poured into this cavity.  Once the metal solidifies the shell is broken away through a shakeout process and the gating material is removed, leaving the finished part.

MetalTek produces investment castings up to 40" diameter x 34" tall (1016 mm x 864 mm) with weight up to 1,400 lbs. (635 kg) rough and over 1,000 lbs. (454 kg) net at our investment casting foundry.

See the video to the right to learn more about the investment casting process.

Air Melt Alloy Investment Casting

MetalTek specializes in lost wax investment casting in alloys resistant to heat, wear, and corrosion.  We are unique as an investment casting manufacturer with our ability to cast large parts with net weights of more than 850 lbs. (385 kg).  Value engineering helps manage programs to deliver the right part on time.

MetalTek also performs most Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) functions including various penetrant inspections, magnetic particle, and radiographic tests in support of investment castings.  We also provide single-source responsibility for finish machining, polishing, electro-plating, and other secondary operations.

Investment Casting Video

Play Video

When to use Investment Casting

  • External shaping and tight tolerances exist

  • Parts are shaped or non-symmetrical with fine detail

  • Multiple and/or intricate internal passageways in design

  • Dimensions are small to medium, typically under 1,000 lbs./454 kg

  • Excellent as-cast surface finish is required

  • Wall thickness is too thin for sand casting

  • High upfront tooling costs relative to sand casting are acceptable

  • Low volume allows printed patterns to replace upfront tooling

  • Ongoing tool maintenance costs are not desired

  • Machining of internal passageways is not possible

Investment castings at MetalTek are produced at Wisconsin Investcast.


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