When designing for investment casting, all of our customers want the same thing, quality components that provide superior performance and durability. This requires sound mechanical design of the final component, reliable process controls, consideration of marketplace economic requirements, and clear communication among all parties. Most of our customers are not familiar with designing specifically for investment casting, so while the below tips are important to remember, we strongly urge you to involve our engineering team early during design to realize the benefits of our knowledge and design efficiencies.
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Size & Weight
Part size and weight are the most critical factors in determining part cost because mold capacity is limited by both. The more pieces that can run on a mold, the lower the part cost. While almost any configuration can be investment cast, our team of engineers can help to optimize your part for the investment casting process by reducing part weight and optimizing design geometries. The key to the most cost-effective use of this process is to fully utilize its flexible capabilities and incorporate as many useful features into the cast piece as possible.
The number of gates you have has a direct influence on the cost of your project. The impact of the gate location on the component must be considered during the design phase, as it can be a careful balance between manufacturability, part function, dimensional control, and aesthetics.
When possible, a part should be designed so that a single gate can feed the part. This will generally yield more pieces per mold and reduce the pour weight per mold. Single gate feeding also enhances the dimensional stability of a given part by providing a directional solidification pattern.
Castability is very important to the investment casting process. Ideally, an investment cast component would be shaped like an icicle for directional solidification—you would pour from heavy to thin. If a design contains features that will raise scrap or rework rates (and piece price), a Signicast estimating engineer will recommend design modifications to help minimize costs.
Quality Investment Castings
Early supplier involvement means Signicast’s in-house technical staff and CAD capabilities are available to help you to ensure that you receive the best quality component. The design tips above will only help to improve the way your component is investment cast, even if it was previously manufactured by another casting process. Unlike other casting processes, designing for investment casting has a unique set of efficiencies that can be utilized to create the best part for the best price possible.
Contact our team today so that you can benefit from our engineering experience and state-of-the-art innovations.