Investment casting is an ancient industrial technique which is also called lost-wax casting, one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques. From over 5,000 years ago, when beeswax formed the patterns, to today’s high-tech. waxes, such as refractory materials and specialist alloys, the castings allow the manufacture of components with accuracy, versatility, repeatability, and integrity in different types of metals and high performance alloys. Lost foam casting is a recent form of investment casting that eliminates several steps in the process.
Investment casting waxes are specially formulated waxes used in the process of investment casting.
Investment casting, also known as precision casting or lost-wax casting, is a manufacturing process that involves using a wax pattern to shape a disposable ceramic mold. The ceramic mold is used to replicate a desired pattern in materials typically made out of common metals such as aluminum, bronze, magnesium, and stainless steel.
The process gets its name from the process of “investing” or surrounding a pattern with refractory materials.
Application of Investment Casting Wax
First, a wax pattern is made in the exact shape of the item to be cast. Then, the wax pattern is coated with a refractory ceramic material. Once the ceramic material hardens, it is turned upside-down and heated until the wax melts and drains out, leaving an expendable investment mold. Molten metal is then poured into the mold and allowed to solidify. The resulting metal casting is broken out of the spent mold.
Investment casting yields accurate results when it comes to the replication of fine details in the items to be produced. It presents a significant cost savings in material, labor, and machining.
Parts manufactured with investment casting include turbine blades, medical equipment, firearm components, gears, jewelry, golf club heads, and many other machine components with complex geometry.
It usually takes 7 days to go from a fresh wax pattern to a complete casting. The majority of that time is taken up by creating and drying the ceramic shell mold. Some foundries have quick-dry capabilities to produce castings more quickly.