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Investment Casting Foundry Practice

G. M. Rajendra Prasad
A/14, K. H. B. Colony, Puttenahalli
Yelahanka, Bangalore – 560 106.
Email :

Let me confess at the outset that I am totally ignorant of Processing Steps

the Science of Investment Casting. a) Preparing Coating Slurry
We have been able to develop investment casting, on 1. Take 4.5 liters of Colloidal Silica.
our own, by trial and error method. We do not even know
if what we have done is conventional or not. I have not 2. To this, add 7.5 kgs of -325# Quartz Flour.
even seen an Investment Casting Foundry. 3. Mix it with the stirrer for 30 minutes.
The process that we have followed has given us 4. Add 4 drops of godrej EZEE soap liquid. (This is a
results. Ours is a sand cast foundry, where we make all wetting agent.)
kinds of steel & alloy steel castings. We developed
investment castings, on the side lines, for our sister 5. Mix it for 30 minutes. During this process lot of foam
concern which manufactures pumps, to reduce great deal will be generated, and it has to be removed.
of machining at their end. 6. Add 50 ml of NAV Antifoam solution.
Excepting a wax injection machine for pattern making 7. Mix it for 30 minutes.
and a stirrer, we did not have any other facility for
investment casting. 8. Now the coating material is almost ready, but you
need to manually remove few air bubbles still present,
I would like to caution those people, who want to start along with foreign material, if any. Now your coating
an exclusive investment casting unit, to ensure that slurry is ready.
they have all the required equipments for an investment
castings foundry. b) Preparing Shells

Materials : The materials we used were : Colloidal Silica 9. Dip the wax pattern tree in slurry.
(30%), Godrej EZEE Soap Solution, NAV Antifoam 10. Stucco it immediately with 150# fused quartz.
Solution, -325# Fused Quartz, 150# Fused Quartz,
100# Fused Quartz, 70# Fused Quartz, 60# Mullite, Now, what is this “stuccoing”?
40# Mullite, 30# Mullite, 16# Mullite, Investment Casting Whenever you have to paint a wall or a door, you
pattern Wax. first rub (?) the surface with sand paper or emery
Addresses and/or other contact details of companies
from whom we procured these materials are given at the Why do you do that?
end of the article. The other things we used were wax Imagine a smooth surface, and a surface with
pattern injection machine, a motorized stirrer, an electrical scratches. Surface with scratches will have greater
resistant heating furnace and a vessel to treat the shells surface area. This helps in better adherence of
in boiling water. paint on the surface. But in case of our shell, slurry
Preparing Wax Patterns & Tree is as smooth as Talcum Powder, and Wet. So we
sprinkle 150# fused Quartz Flour onto the wet
Prepare your wax pattern and attach it to central sprue. slurry coat. This flour adheres to wet slurry surface.
Between the pattern and the central sprue bar an
In case of a wall, we had scratches, depression,
adequately sized cylindrical wax rod (not longer than 10
which increased the total surface area, and in case
mm) is provided. The wax rod’s diameter depends on the
of our Shell we have projections of 150# quartz
casting size. It acts as a feeder to the casting. Ensure
flour on -325# slurry. This also increases total
that proper venting is provided for air to get out of shell
surface area.
before molten metal fills the shell. To this central sprue
bar several patterns can be attached. Now you have wax 11. Allow the Shell to dry for 8 hours in normal condition
tree ready for further processing. (first coat). Probably one could hasten drying by using
infra-red heat, but I do not know about it.
12. After 8 hours of drying, dip the shell in -325# slurry,
and stucco with 100# fused quartz (2nd coat).
13. Allow it to dry for 8 hours. 21. Wax has ash in it. Fresh wax will have less of ash
Before each time you dip the shell in slurry, stir the and used wax will have more. This ash is still adhering
slurry once to ensure that dispersal of -325# fused to the inner surface of the shell. It has to be removed.
quartz is uniform in colloidal silica. This is done by putting the shells in boiling water.
• Our coating slurry is always of -325# fused quartz. Because of the turbulence, boiling water enters the
• Our Stucco material size changes. shell and removes ash adhering to the inner surface.
As regards to the time of keeping the shell in the
14. Same steps get repeated with 70# fused quartz or
boiling water, keep it till no foreign matter coming
mullite (which is cheaper).
out of the shell is seen.
15. Stucco with 50# mullite. Take out the shell from water and allow it dry for 8
16. Stucco with 30# mullite. hours. Now your shell is ready for pre-heating before
pouring molten metal into it.
17. Stucco with 16# mullite.
d) Shell Pre-heating and Metal Pouring
After each coating operation, 8 hours of drying is
necessary. For smaller Castings, about 6 or 7 22. Put your shells in an electrical resistance furnace,
coatings are adequate. For bigger castings, you and heat the shells to about 950 °C.
need more number of Coats to get a stronger shell. 23. Take out the shells about 3 to 5 minutes before
In case of more number of coats, stucco material pouring molten metal.
will be 16# mullite.
24. Place the shells on a sand bed, cover the shell with
Now, after all the coatings, shell is ready for dry sand to ensure that shell does not lose heat.
dewaxing. During all this, ensure sprue opening is covered, so
c) Dewaxing the Shells that nothing falls into the shell.
18. Make a Stand in such a way (with an opening) that 25. Just before pouring molten metal, remove the Lid
your shell can be kept upside down. Keep a container, (kept over the sprue opening).
with water in it, under the shell.
26. Pour the molten metal into the shell.
19. Start heating the shell with LPG gas flame. Wax melts
27. Take out the shell from the dry sand cover, and allow
and falls into water, so that no wax gets burnt out.
it cool to about 250 °C in natural atmosphere.
20. After you have ensured that all the wax has melted
28. Break the shell without damaging the castings.
and come out, continue to heat the Shell.
29. Cut the feeder (attachment to central sprue) and
Why (Continue to heat the shell)? vents.
Even though all the wax has melted and come
30. Grind the cut portion without damaging the as-cast
out, a layer of carbonaceous material is still
surface of the casting.
adhering to the inner surface of the shell. As you
go on heating the shell, air inside the shell expands 31. Now, get your Investment Casting sand blasted (not
and comes out of the shell, and fresh air enters shot-blasted, as it leads to dent marks on the
the shell. Oxygen of the air reacts with casting).
carbonaceous material, and becomes carbon
Now your Investment Casting is ready!
dioxide, and comes out of the shell. Keep heating
the shell till no fumes come out of the shell. Ensure Notes
that you are heating casting portion more than the a) How much of Colloidal Silica (binder) is to be used
other portions. Now if you break open one shell, depends on your casting size. (Refer to step 1)
you will see milky white inner surface rather than b) How long Oxygen gas has to be passed depends
black surface. on surface area of the casting. Larger the surface
Use of Oxygen : In case of castings with larger area, longer is the time of passing oxygen. (Refer
surface area, the entire carbonaceous layer did to step 20)
not get burnt out. So, we let a stream of oxygen c) How long the Shell should be kept in boiling water
into the shell (which is being heated from outside) depends on surface area of the casting. Do not
at a very low pressure. This resulted in burning of keep it longer than required. (Refer to step 21)
carbonaceous layer. On breaking of the shell, its What is this “required”?
inner surface was found white. As regards to ‘How
long’ oxygen has to be passed, depends on When you do not see any foreign matter coming
surface area of the casting. out of the shell, it (i.e. the shell) can be taken out
of boiling water.
Contact Details of the Suppliers Zircon Vs. Fused Quartz
Addresses of the suppliers of materials, from whom we If you can get 150# zircon and 100# zircon, use
procured the materials, are given below: these for 1st & 2nd stucco. From 3rd stucco
onwards it is 70#, 50#, 30# & 16# mullite.
1. Colloidal Silica (30%)
We used fused quartz because of non-availability
Dr. Khan Industrial Consultants Pvt. Ltd. of zircon. This is an option. When your slurry itself
S-6, Ratnamanjusha, Ravi Industrial Compound is 325# fused quartz, stuccoing with fused quartz
Naupada, Thane - 400 602 (Maharashtra). should not matter.
Cell : 91-932789806
You can also use -325# zircon flour for basic
Emails :,
coating, 200# zircon for first stucco, 150# zircon
2. Fused Quartz for second stucoo, and 100# zircon for third stucco.
The Universal Fused Quartz & Allied Products Pvt. Ltd. Thereafter go for Mullite Stucco – 70#, 50#, 30#
Bangalore. and 16#.
Email :
Contact Person : Shri Shankar Prasad I have explained the process. If you want to start making
3. Pattern Wax investment castings, you will have to establish process
M/s. Saffroshine Organics Pvt. Ltd. parameters for your condition.
C-73, MIDC, Chincholi, Solapur - 413 255. Remarks : When I started surfing the NET for information
Phone : (0217) 235 7272, Cell : 91-98901 97600 on Investment Casting, I got many other information,
Contact Person : Shri Rajesh Zade but not an IOTA of information on Investment Casting
Email : process details. Then I decided that I will share this
4. NAV Antifoam information and our experience by publishing it in
FOUNDRY magazine so that my fellow countrymen get
M/s. Navya Refractory Products, Bangalore. benefitted.
Email :
Before I end my paper, as I have already stated in the
Earlier we were using nOctonal liquid from Merck, beginning, I still do not know the Science of Investment
paying Rs. 2200 per litre; but later changed over to Casting. This I am saying just to tell you that if you put
NAV Antifoam, which is priced at Rs. 250 per litre. your heart and soul into it, you can improvise the process
As regards to performance of removal of foam, I a great deal. Good Luck!
did not find any difference.
Acknowledgement : I would like to express my deep
5. Mullite sense of gratitude to Shri Babu Sathian, Mg. Dir. of
M/s. Bajaj Associates, Bangalore. M/s. Process Pumps (India) Pvt. Ltd. and M/s. Allcast
Phone : (080) 2228 1141, 2287 0369 Industries, Bangalore, for having permitted me to prepare
Email : & present this small Paper.
6. Wetting Agent
Godrej EZEE Soap Solution, which is easily available in
the market.
7. Investment Casting Equipments
Such of those people who want to get into investment
casting in a big way, you cannot do it the way we did. We
did it on the side lines. For investment casting equipments,
please contact :
Incasst Machines, Hebbal Indl. Area, Mysore - 570 018
Contact : Shri Vivek Sangle (Mobile : 91-97411 22101)
Email :
Visit :

• Foundry is an Old Art, but Young Science.

• Investment casting is almost 3000 years old.
• The Metallic Sculpture of Dancing Nataraja was made by this Process.