When you think of a hand tool, like a ratchet or a wrench, the number one thing you’re looking for as a consumer is strength and reliability. As a manufacturer of hand tools, you’re looking for mass quantities, fast turnarounds, and cost efficiencies. Signicast has been creating hand tools for customers across the country for upwards of 50 years and many of today’s leading manufacturers turn to Signicast for fast, repeatable manufacturing.
Converting Machined Hand Tools
For decades, hand tools have been machined or forged from solid. While this does provide a strong and durable component, it results in tons of scrap, often wasted money, and hours of laborious re-work.
In the 1980s, Richard Freeman, a 25-year engineering veteran to a well-known hand tool manufacturer, had the idea to the convert the previously machined ratchet to the investment casting process.
After being turned down by almost every lost wax manufacturer in the Thomas Register, now ThomasNet, Freeman found his answer with our Hutchins, Texas-based investment casting company. Working with the engineering team, after a few design iterations, he helped convert the design from raw forging to a net-shape investment cast component. “We were always reworking the old way,” says Freeman. “It shortened the process time by eliminating 7-10 processes that were cut out by converting to casting, saving us over a hundred thousand dollars a year in cost—and that was back in the 80s!”
Freeman noted that “we learned on the way and had a lot of guys making special waxes and cavities to get everything right. They [Hutchins] weren’t afraid to take on the challenge.”
“If we could cast the ratchet with net shape, so there wasn’t any rework, we would save time and money”
Stainless Steel Hand Tools
At Signicast, we cast hand tools from a variety of different materials but for strength and longevity, most customers prefer cast steel. Utilizing our in-house engineering team, we design hand and power tools to meet occupational health and safety (OH&S) requirements which we test through careful accident analysis to ensure components are designed with the highest levels of safety and usability.
If you’re interested in converting any of your metal components to the investment casting process, reach out to our engineering team to get the conversation started. We offer free on-site technical seminars to help you better understand the investment casting process and how we can better serve your foundry needs.