Investment Casting

Investment Castings - Precision PartsInvestment Castings -- Precision Parts

Investment casting is a multi-step process that produces near-net shape precision parts that usually require few finishing details. The process begins with wax being injected into a die to create a pattern of the finished product. The patterns are then affixed to wax runner bars to create what is known as a “tree.”

A robot dips the tree repeatedly into a slurry to develop a ceramic shell, and then the wax is removed in a steam autoclave. Once the wax is removed, the ceramic shell is fired and then filled with molten metal to create the part.

Also known as lost wax casting, investment casting can be used to produce a wide variety of precision parts from many alloys and metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, brass and bronze.

Parts made by investment casting are used in a broad range of industries, including fluid power, oil and gas, food and dairy, military, aerospace and aviation and agriculture.

The investment casting process offers numerous advantages over other casting, machining and manufacturing methods.

Investment Casting vs. Sand Casting:
Compared to sand casting, lost wax casting offers tighter dimensional tolerances, better surface finishes, produces near-net shape parts which therefore require less machining and other processing, and allows for the casting of complex-geometry parts and intricate details such as lettering and logos.

Investment Casting vs. Machining:
Precision investment casting offers lower per piece costs over long production runs, significantly less material waste thereby reducing material costs, and the ability to work with a larger selection of alloys. Additionally, machining offers no economy of scale with volume (ten thousand parts cost as much per piece as ten parts).

Investment Casting vs. Metal Fabrication:
Investment casting can be far more accurate and precise than metal fabrication, is less labor intensive, often offers substantial weight savings, costs less, provides more material choices, greater design flexibility, shorter lead times, and quicker prototyping. Additionally, while using metal fabrication may require parts to be constructed from multiple individual pieces, precision investment casting allows for the same part to be made in one continuous piece.

Investment Casting vs. Die Casting:
Lost wax casting offers far shorter lead times, greater alloy flexibility (including ferrous materials which cannot be die cast), greater design flexibility, better piece to piece consistency, and produces parts closer to net shape which therefore require less machining. Tooling for lost wax casting is also dramatically less expensive than die cast tooling.

Investment Casting vs. Forging:
Compared to forging, precision investment casting offers tighter tolerances and lower tooling costs, and provides near-net shape parts which require less machining and additional processing. With investment casting, it is also possible to produce cored geometries, which forging cannot offer.

We offer a broad range of precision investment casting capabilities, including:

Avalon Precision Metalsmiths has more than 75 years’ experience in precision investment casting. Request a quote today on lost wax castings for your precision parts, or contact us for more information.


Avalon Precision Metalsmiths is now part of Sigma Engineered Solutions. Learn more about Sigma's full range of casting capabilities:
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