Investment Casting Vs Sand Casting: Differences and Advantages

Investment casting and sand casting are reliable, cost-effective, quality manufacturing processes that allow for flexibility in budgets, timelines, and design. The pattern used to make casting molds lasts through thousands of impressions and years of use, producing the exact same measurements every time. Patterns also are easily replicable when needed.

 

When manufacturers choose casting to mass produce complex parts, they have the option of choosing investment casting, which is also called the lost wax process, or a sand casting. The following is a breakdown of the two distinct processes and their advantages.

Investment Casting Process

  1. Inject wax into die to create a wax pattern version of the casting.
  2. Assemble patterns to a wax gating system to create a mold.
  3. Dip the mold in ceramic slurry and sand to create the shell.
  4. Melt wax out of the shell.
  5. Pour metal into the shell.
  6. Finish casting to meet customer requirements.

Investment Casting Process Visual Outline

Sand Casting Process

  1. Add sand to “Box” created with the combination of pattern on board and flask.
  2. Assemble the top half (cope) of mold to the bottom half of mold (drag) after adding cores.
  3. Pour metal into the mold.
  4. Finish casting to meet customer requirements.

Sand Casting Process Visual Outline

Investment Casting Advantages

  1. Castings from ounces to 150 pounds
  2. Can hold tighter tolerances
  3. Can cast thinner walls
  4. Better surface finish
  5. Less machining required
  6. Can cast more complex designs
  7. Easier to run prototypes

Sand Casting Advantages

  1. Castings up to 6,000 pounds (depending on configuration) Gross Weight
  2. Lower cost to produce
  3. Shorter lead times

While investment casting is ideal for highly complex designs – it can cast 1/8-inch walls at the thinnest and work with both ferrous and non-ferrous metals – investment casting does have weight and size limitations. It is typically more costly than sand casting. It also requires longer lead times, however this is relative since Stainless Foundry & Engineering offers some of the lowest lead times in the industry.

 

Sand casting achieves net shapes within a quarter of an inch and has a rougher surface finish. Parts can be machined to achieve the exact tolerance and look for the finished part. Sand casting is more versatile with size and weight capabilities than investment casting.

 

Any manufacturer, prior to requesting a quotation, should consider all of the advantages of each process and decide in the end which process will yield a finished product to the desired quality at the lowest cost. An investment casting may cost more upfront, but when calculating secondary costs of sand casting it may be a wash.

 

If you are considering the design of a new part to be cast, or weighing the options of sand or investment casting, please contact us. Our sales and engineering team can assist in determining which process would work best for you.

Other News Articles

Chemical Composition Solves Top Challenges for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

The food and beverage industry relies on precise control, planned maintenance, and optimization of processes.


The Sky’s the Limit for Stainless Steel Investment Casting

The more a foundry can expand its capabilities, the more an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can push the envelope with part design. This is especially true with stainless steel investment casting.


Supreme Cores Empowers SF&E to Do What It Does Best

Starting in 2023, SF&E has been working with Supreme Cores, another Milwaukee-based company, to provide the foundry with high quality sand cores.


CASE STUDY: A SINGLE PART MAKES BIG IMPACT FOR PULP PROCESSOR

Discover how Axton’s partnership with SF&E revolutionized pulp processing equipment, introducing a segmented ADI 600 screw for heightened efficiency and reduced downtime. Through meticulous design and material selection, this innovative solution showcases the power of collaboration in optimizing industrial operations.


Streamlining Investment Castings: The Waterblast Advantage

One of the important steps for producing investment castings involves removing the investment casting shells. Stainless Foundry & Engineering (SF&E) recently replaced a manual process using a knockout hammer, spinner blast, and a hand chisel with the automation of a high-pressure waterblast. The Triplex Systems, Inc TRX-1250CAM Combination Automatic and Manual Precision Cleaning® Center enables […]


Return to the News Page