Investment casting, one of the common casting processes, which is known for its ability to produce intricate parts with excellent surface finish and dimensional accuracy. At the heart of this process are the materials used, which significantly influence the final product’s properties.
3 Types of Investment Casting Materials
In CFS Foundry, we can produce investment cast components with different types of materials, including cast steel, cast iron and cast aluminum.
Cast steel usually refers to normal carbon steel, alloy steel and stainless steel. It is the investment casting material used to make steel castings with carbon content lower than 2%.
Common cast steel grades:
|Carbon steel & Alloy steel||Stainless steel|
Cast steel has the metallurgy manufacturing flexibility and strongest variability. One can choose a different chemical composition and control that is adapted to the various requirements of different projects. This offers different heat treatment choices in the larger context of the mechanical properties and performance. Also offering good weld-ability and workability.The most obvious advantage of cast steel is the design flexibility. The designer of investment casting has the greatest freedom of design choices. This allows for complex shapes and hollow cross-section parts.
The advantage and disadvantage of cast steel
Cast steel is a kind of isotropic material and can be made into the overall structural strength steel castings. This improves the reliability of the project. Coupled with the design and weight, the advantages of short delivery time, price and economy gives cast steel a competitive advantage.
The weight range of steel castings is larger. In our investment casting foundry, we can make steel castings in investment casting from only a few dozen grams to 50 kilograms.
Steel castings can be used for a variety of working conditions. Its mechanical properties are superior to any other casting alloys, and a variety of high-alloy steel for special purposes. To withstand high tensile stress or dynamic load of components, it is important to consider pressure vessel castings. In low or high temperature, large and important part load key parts should give priority to steel castings.
However, cast steel has comparatively bad shake-suction, wear resistance and mobility. The casting performance, compared to cast iron, is bad. Also, the costs are higher than normal cast iron.
Cast iron usually refers to gray iron and ductile iron. Such kind of investment casting material can be used to produce iron castings with carbon content higher than 2%.
Common gray iron grades: HT150, HT200, HT250, HT300, HT350.
Common ductile iron grades: QT400-15, QT400-18, QT450-10, QT500-7, QT600-9.
The ductile iron has high strength, ductility and heat-resistance and toughness. So a wider application, in some cases, can replace the carbon steel. However, its production technology is high. The production process is more complex. This makes the production cost higher than normal grey cast iron and cast steel. Therefore, there are more investment casting defects for ductile iron. There are many fields that use ductile iron, such as pressure pipes and fittings, automotive applications, agriculture, road and construction applications and general engineering applications.The grey cast iron’s good casting properties are: good vibration damping, good wear resistance, good machinability and low notch sensitivity. However, its tensile strength and elongation are very low. So, it can only produce some metal investment castings with low physical requirements. Requirements such as protective cover, cover, oil pan, hand wheels, frame, floor, hammer, small handle, base, frame, box, knife, bed, bearing seat, table, wheels, cover, pump, valve, pipe, flywheel, motor blocks etc. As for the higher grades, grey cast iron can withstand greater load and a certain degree of tightness or corrosion resistance. This allows for some of the more important castings such as cylinder, gear, base, flywheels, bed, cylinder block, cylinder liner, piston, gear box, brake wheel, coupling plate, medium pressure valve, etc.
Common cast aluminum grades: ADC-12, A356, A380, ZL104.
In addition to cookware and furniture, this type of investment casting material is also used to create a number of motor parts for land vehicles and boats. Components such as connecting rods, pistons, housings, radiator tanks, and other essentials can be created using both die casting and mold casting methods. Even components such as compressors and various types of gears may be created using aluminum of this type.Cast aluminum is a specific metal that has gone through one of the several processes known as casting. Essentially, it is created when methods such as die casting, mold casting, or sand casting are used to temper the aluminum for use in creating components for many different types of products. This form of aluminum is used for a number of items around the house, as well as machinery and other products that are necessary to the manufacturing of a wide range of goods and services.
One of the main advantages to using cast aluminum is that the metal is often cost efficient in comparison to other investment casting materials. The metal also retains a high degree of durability. While it is not necessarily true that it will last as long as cast iron in some applications, aluminum products do tend to hold up well for a number of years. The combination of lower cost and reliable durability makes the metal an excellent choice for many aluminum castings used in domestic and commercial applications.
Tips on Selecting the Right Investment Casting Material
It is critical to choose the right material for investment casting process, which can significantly impact the performance and longevity of the final product. The choice of material depends on various factors, including the intended application, required mechanical properties, cost considerations, and more.
Understand Your Application Requirements
The first step in selecting the right material is understanding your application requirements. This involves considering the operating conditions, such as temperature, pressure, and potential exposure to corrosive environments. For instance, if the casting will be used in a high-temperature environment, materials with good heat resistance, like certain grades of cast steel, would be suitable. Conversely, for applications exposed to corrosive environments, materials with high corrosion resistance, such as certain types of cast aluminum, would be more appropriate.
Consider Mechanical and Physical Properties
Different materials offer different mechanical and physical properties. For instance, cast iron is known for its excellent castability, wear resistance, and machinability, making it suitable for applications requiring durability. Cast aluminum, on the other hand, is lightweight and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for aerospace and automotive applications. Understanding these properties will help you choose a material that best suits your needs.
Evaluate Cost Implications
While it’s important to select a material that meets your application requirements and desired properties, it’s also crucial to consider cost implications. Some materials, like cast iron, are more cost-effective than others, like cast steel. However, the choice of material should not compromise the quality and performance of the final product.
Leverage Expertise from CFS Foundry
CFS Foundry, a leading manufacturer in the investment casting industry, offers a wide range of materials to cater to diverse industry needs. Our team of experts can provide valuable guidance in selecting the right material based on your specific requirements. We can also assist with design considerations, prototyping, and post-casting treatments, ensuring a comprehensive solution for your casting needs.
Consider Future Needs
While current application requirements are crucial, it’s also important to consider future needs. If there’s a possibility that your product requirements might change in the future, choosing a versatile material like cast steel might be a wise decision.
Contact CFS Foundry for Investment Casting Services
Ready to take your project to the next level with premier investment casting services? Contact CFS Foundry today. Our team of experts is ready to assist you with every step of your casting project, ensuring that you receive a final product that meets your specific requirements and exceeds your expectations.
Whether you have a question about materials, need assistance with design, or are ready to start your casting project, don’t hesitate to reach out to CFS Foundry. Our commitment to quality, customer service, and continuous innovation makes us a trusted partner in the world of investment casting.