What Is investment casting?
Investment casting (also known as lost wax investment casting) produces parts with fine detail and excellent as-cast surface finish. Investment castings shape into 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 1,000 lbs. (454 kg) net.
See the video to the right to learn more about investment casting.
Air Melt Alloy Investment Casting
MetalTek specializes in lost wax investment casting in alloys resistant to heat, wear, and corrosion. We are unique in our ability to manufacture very large parts with net weights more than 850 lbs. (385 kg). Value engineering helps manage programs to deliver the right part on time.
MetalTek also performs most NDT functions including various penetrant, 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
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
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Tight tolerance capability and the introduction of internal structures through cores make investment casting a logical choice.
Ignition Inlet Guide Vane
Investment casting delivers the ability to design and produce components with very thin sections.