Steel investment casting is the most widely used cast steel method for manufacturing in automotive, heavy-duty trucking and equipment, sporting goods, and other industries. Of course, if you need high-quality cast parts, it is the right decision to approach a steel investment casting company like Zetwerk. By working with a company specializing in steel investment casting, you can be confident that you are getting the highest-quality parts that will meet your exact specifications.
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What Is Steel Investment Casting?
The steel investment casting process begins with creating a wax or 3D model of the desired casting. This model is then used to create a mold coated in ceramic material. The mold is heated to a high temperature, causing the wax to melt and run out, leaving a hollow ceramic shell. The molten steel is poured into the mold, and the entire assembly is cooled. Once cooled, the ceramic shell is broken away to reveal the finished steel casting. Steel investment casting is a versatile process that can produce castings with high accuracy and excellent surface finish. It is commonly used to create complex, thin-walled components that would be difficult or impossible to manufacture using other methods.
Why Is Steel Suitable For Casting?
Steel is suitable for casting because it is strong, durable, and cost-effective. In addition to its structural and load-bearing applications, steel can be used in smaller applications such as jewelry making. It has a relatively low melting point; it can be melted and poured into a mold easily. It is also easy to machine and work with after casting, making it a popular choice for various casting applications. Finally, steel is resistant to corrosion, making it suitable for outdoor and high-moisture environments.
Cast steel is similar in wear resistance to wrought steel of the same composition. Alloying elements like molybdenum and chromium can significantly increase the wear resistance of cast steel. Machinability measures how easily steel castings can be shaped by removing material during machining. High-machinable steel is easy to work with and inexpensive. Workability depends on the alloy’s strength, hardness, thermal conductivity, and expansion.
Weldability is a quality of steel castings that allows them to be welded without defects. Cast steel is commonly used in applications where the finished product needs to be finished, covered, or shaped or when multiple castings must be combined into a single component. Weldability mainly depends on the cast steel’s chemical composition and heat treatment.
How Do Investment Casting & Die Casting Differ In Their Process?
There are few key differences between die casting and investment casting. They are as follows:
- Materials: Investment casting typically produces parts from metals with a high melting point, such as steel, stainless steel, and nickel alloys. Die casting is generally used for metals with a lower melting point, such as aluminum, zinc, and copper.
- Surface Finish: Investment casting typically produces parts with a smooth surface finish, as the ceramic mold provides a smooth surface for the metal to solidify against. Die casting often has parts with a rough surface finish, as the metal cools quickly and solidifies before it can flow smoothly into all the corners and crevices of the die.
- Molds: Investment casting uses a ceramic mold created from a wax pattern of the desired part. The wax is melted, and the molten metal is poured into the mold. Die casting uses a metal mold, or die, machined to the shape of the desired part. The molten metal is injected into the die under high pressure.
- Cost: Investment casting is generally more expensive than die casting due to the cost of the ceramic molds and the labor-intensive nature of the process. Die casting is usually faster and more automated, making it less expensive.
- Tolerances: Investment casting can produce parts with very tight tolerances, as the wax pattern is exact, and the metal flows slowly into the mold, allowing it to fill all the details of the pattern. Die casting often produces parts with less precise tolerances, as the metal is injected into the die at high speed and may flow unevenly into all the corners and crevices of the die.
Investment casting has been around for over 5,000 years. It is still used in industries worldwide, including food processing, industrial, defense, automotive, and agricultural machinery. Investment casting allows manufacturers to produce complex components with smooth surfaces, close tolerances, and unique geometries.
Zetwerk provides investment casting services for clients seeking high-quality components in various industries. We use specialized wax processing, shell-making, and mold-making equipment to produce models quickly and cast high-quality parts.