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Aluminum Casting Process

The Castings process is a marriage of traditional casting methods and the latest in rapid prototyping technology. If you would like to read about design considerations before getting started with you project please Click Here.

Below are Pictures of the Casting process at the Foundry. Click Here or Scroll down to See

Aluminum Casting Methods

 

Our prototypes are made either by the plaster or air-set sand process. The type of casting dictates the method that we use, unless specified by our customer.

The plaster process is used when fine detail and finish are essential.

Thin wall castings can also be cast with this method. Walls down to .060" can be cast.

Rubber patterns can be used when making plaster molds. When using rubber patterns, minimal or no draft is needed, facilitating a cast to print part.

One-cylinder air compressor engine block
Approximate weight: 7 lbs.
356 Aluminum. Plaster method.

Cast to size castings help to cut down machining costs. Also, with rubber tooling, minimal parting compound is required thus insuring more detail.

With plaster molds, porosity can be a problem. We've nearly eliminated porosity using a rotary degassing unit using a special blend of gasses.

 

Step 1: 3D CAD Files

First we will analyze your file to ensure that it is ready. 3D objects must be solid or "water tight". All surfaces are joined together and there are no gaps. The files are inspected to ensure that there is proper draft. See our knowledge page for more info on draft.

Step 2: Patterns

Next an SLA pattern is created. Stereolithography provides a highly accurate and fast method of pattern making. Often patterns can be created in as little as 24 hours.

Step 3: Tooling

These SLA patterns are used to create a variety of different types of tooling. Your specific application will determine the type of tooling required.

Step 4: Castings

Finally, the tooling is used to create molds in which the parts will be cast. Weather it be prototype castings, short run castings, or production castings, the process remains virtually the same.

Tour of the Foundry

 

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