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Metal Casting

Lesson Outcomes
By the end of this lessons, students should be able to
explain:
1. The generic metal casting process
2. The sand casting process and example products
3. The investment casting process and example
products
4. The die casting process and example products

The metal casting process


The casting process generally involves:
1. Pouring molten metal into a mold
patterned after the part to be manufactured
2. Allowing the metal to cool and solidify
3. Removing the solid part from the mold

Types of molds
Casting processes can be classified by the type of mold used:
Expendable molds
After the casting has solidified, mold is broken to remove the
casting
Typically made of sand, plaster, ceramics

Permanent molds
Used repeatedly (not broken after solidification)
Made of metals

Composite molds
Consists of permanent and expendable portions
Made of two or more different materials (eg: sand, graphite, metal)
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Overview
Process
Shellmold

Advantages
Gooddimensionalaccuracy
andsurfacefinish;high
productionrate.

Limitations
Partsizelimited;expensive
patternsandequipmentrequired.

sand

Mostmetalscastwithnolimit
tosize;complexshapes

Patternshavelowstrengthand
canbecostlyforlowquantities

Plastermold

Intricateshapes;good
dimensionalaccuracyand
finish;lowporosity.

Limitedtononferrousmetals;
limitedsizeandvolumeof
production;moldmakingtime
relativelylong.

Ceramicmold

Intricateshapes;close
toleranceparts;goodsurface
finish.

Limitedsize.

Investment

Intricateshapes;excellent
surfacefinishandaccuracy;
almostanymetalcast.

Partsizelimited;expensive
patterns,molds,andlabor.

Permanentmold

Goodsurfacefinishand
dimensionalaccuracy;low
porosity;highproductionrate.

Highmoldcost;limitedshape
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andintricacy;notsuitablefor
highmeltingpointmetals.

Overview

Examples
(a)

(b)

(a) The Polaroid PDC-2000 digital camera with a AZ91D die-cast,


high purity magnesium case. (b) Two-piece Polaroid camera case
made by the hot-chamber die casting process. Source: Courtesy of
Polaroid Corporation and Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc.
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Sand Casting
Most common type of casting
The mold is made of sand
There are two types of sand used:
Naturally bonding
Synthetic

Example products: machine bases,


propellers, impellers, etc.
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Sand casting: A typical sand mold

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Sand Casting: Sand mold features


1.

Flask

2.

Supports the mold

Pouring basin

3.

A hole into which the molten metal is poured

Sprue

4.

A vertical channel that allow the metal to flow downward

Runner System

5.

Channels that allow metal to flow from the sprue to mold cavity

Risers

6.

Store and supply additional molten metal to the casting as it shrinks during
solidification

Cores

7.

Inserts made from sand. Placed in mold to form hollow regions.

Vents

Allow gasses and exhaust air to exit

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Sand casting: Mold Patterns


Used to shape the sand mixture into the shape of the casting
Used repeatedly to make sand molds
Can be made of wood, plastic or metal
Coated with parting agent to ease removal of mold from pattern

A typical metal match-plate


pattern used in sand casting.

Taper on patterns for ease of removal


from the sand mold.
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Sand casting: Steps

Outline of production steps in a typical sand-casting operation.


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Investment casting

Example products: components for office


equipment, gears, cams, valves, etc.

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Investment Casting: Steps


1.

Mold is normally made of


metal
2.
Pattern is then made by
injecting wax or plastic into
mold
3.Schematic
A series of patterns can be
assembled
illustration
of into a pattern tree
4.investment
The pattern tree is then
dipped into a slurry (eg: fine
casting,silica
(lost-wax
and binders)
process).
5.
Stucco coating is applied
Castings
by this to increase
repeatedly
methodthickness,
can be forming a onepiece
mold
made with very
6.fine detail
The one-piece
mold is dried
and
heated
from aand
variety
ofto melt out the
wax (original pattern).
metals. Source:
7.
The one-piece mold is
Steel Founders'
heated further to remove
Societywater
of and burn off any
remaining wax.
America.
8.
Molten metal is poured into
the one-piece mold. After
solidification, the one-piece
mold is broken up and the
casting is removed.

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Investment Casting: Steps


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Mold is normally made of metal


Pattern is then made by injecting wax or plastic into mold
A series of patterns can be assembled into a pattern tree
The pattern tree is then dipped into a slurry (eg: fine silica
and binders)
Stucco coating is applied repeatedly to increase thickness,
forming a one-piece mold
The one-piece mold is dried and heated to melt out the wax
(original pattern).
The one-piece mold is heated further to remove water and
burn off any remaining wax.
Molten metal is poured into the one-piece mold. After
solidification, the one-piece mold is broken up and the
casting is removed.

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Die Casting
In permanent-mold casting, two halves of a mold are made
from materials that resist erosion and thermal fatigue such
as cast iron, steel and graphite.
The die casting process:
A piston traps a volume of molten metal
Piston then forces molten metal into the die cavity through a
nozzle
Metal is held under pressure (up to 35 MPa) until it solidifies.
The part is then ejected by an ejector mechanism
The die is normally cooled using circulating water or oil

Example products:
Engine blocks, hand tools, motor housings

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Hot-chamber die-casting

Heated chamber

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Cold-chamber die casting

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Die Casting Cavities

Various types of cavities in a die-casting die. Source: Courtesy of American Die


Casting Institute.

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Hot Chamber Die


Casting Machine
(b)

(b) 800-ton hot-chamber die-casting machine, DAM 8005 (made in Germany


in 1998). This is the largest hot-chamber machine in the world and costs
about $1.25 million.
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Summary
Metal casting involves pouring molten metal into a
mold, allowing the metal to solidify and removing
the part from the mold
Casting processes can be classified as permanent
mold and expendable mold processes
Each process is suitable for manufacturing a
particular class of products.

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