Stainless Steel Investment Casting
Stainless steel investment casting, known as the stainless steel lost wax casting, is a precision casting process of stainless steel alloys (304, 316, 17-4 ph, 2205, etc) as it is capable of making high accuracy and intricately detailed stainless steel castings compared to similar manufacturing processes such as stainless steel sand casting.
In stainless steel investment casting, a wax pattern is injected and coated by dipping into the refractory material slurry. Once the refractory material coating is hardened then this dipping process is repeated several times to increase the coating thickness and its strength. Once the final coating is hardened the wax is melted out and molten stainless steel is poured into the cavity created by the wax pattern. Once the stainless steel solidifies within the mould, stainless steel casting is removed by breaking the refractory mould.
Stainless Steel Sand Casting
Stainless steel sand casting, also known as sand molded casting, is a process that uses non-reusable sand molds to form stainless steel products.
Stainless steel sand casting is relativey cheaper than stainless steel investment casting. This type of casting method is used to make large stainless steel parts. Because the sand mold must be destroyed in order to remove the part, called the casting, stainless steel sand casting has a low production rate. The stainless steel sand casting process involves the use of a furnace, raw material, pattern and sand mold. Stainless steel material is melted in the furnace and then ladled and poured into the cavity of the sand mold, which is formed by the pattern. The sand mold separates along a parting line and the solidified casting can be removed.
Difference Between Stainless Steel Investment Casting and Stainless Steel Sand Casting
Stainless steel investment casting and stainless steel sand casting are two different casting methods of creating stainless steel components both by pouring liquid metal into molds. Because both stainless steel investment casting and stainless steel sand casting have their benefits, so we can not say which is better, just for different applications.
Cost: The stainless steel investment casting process always costs higher than stainless steel sand casting for the complexity and preparation needed.
Weight: Stainless steel investment casting can make casting smaller than 0.5kg, while stainless steel sand casting can not always make small and complex parts like investment casting. Stainless steel investment casting also has restrictions on the size and weight made in sand casting. The mold-handling equipment at the casting plant will affect the weight of products.
Surface Finish: Surface finish is another big difference between stainless steel investment casting and stainless steel sand casting. Stainless steel investment casting can create finished parts showing smooth surfaces and close tolerances. After removing the sprue gate and shot blasting, the casting blank can be net shape directly. With stainless steel sand casting, the mold has to be split apart to release the final product. As a result, the parting line will leave outside the finished part. And due to the rough sand, the surface of finished cast parts will be equally rough. So additional cost and time will be required in secondary machining for removing the parting line and a more smooth surface.
The investment casting process is often superior to other types of stainless steel casting, particularly in regards to surface finishes. CFS Stainless Steel Foundry, has over 20 years of experience creating qualified investment castings in its factory in China. CFS uses magnetic particle inspection, high-accuracy machining and CMM confirmation to ensure your stainless steel castings are flawless and dimensionally correct.