Investment Casting vs. Die Casting – Choose the Best Method for Your Project

Investment Casting vs. Die Casting

Though we live in a technologically advanced society, some old manufacturing techniques have great demand among people. Casting can be considered as one of the famous and still trending ancient manufacturing techniques. There are two main types of casting as die casting and investment casting. Since there are considerable differences between die casting and investment casting, we must consider more when observing those types for various purposes. 

 When we talk about the process of casting, first of all, a liquid material like molten metal is poured into a mold cavity. Then it is allowed to harden. So the molded metal should be changed by applying the finishing treatments to get a unique and dazzling final product. With the casting process, we can manufacture hollow designs and complex solids, especially in various industries. Mainly there are four types of casting as die-casting, plaster casting, investment casting and sand casting. Each casting process provides manufacturing benefits that are ideal to them.

Main facts to note when selecting investment casting vs. die casting 

Since 1838, the casting process is used in industries for various purposes. Mainly there are financial targets behind this technique. Thanks to the developed technology, people use new machines and inventions to get the most satisfactory final product. As I mentioned before, mainly people can use die casting or investment casting according to their properties and all that.

Many people involved in casting are stuck when selecting the most suitable and more beneficial method to do their casting procedure. Therefore it’s essential to know about the differences between investment casting vs. die casting. 

Here we have given more facts about each process and its advantages and disadvantages as well. To continue your reading to get a clear idea about investment casting vs. die casting. First of all, let’s clarify The way these two Processes continue. 

The Die Casting Process

The Die Casting Process 

Here the process can be different a little according to the materials you select. Mainly there are two types of die casting as hot chamber and cold room dies casting. First, you can inject the molten metal into a steel die cavity and then allow it to be hardened. 

After completion of the solidification, you can eject it and then repeat the procedure. From these hardened steel molds, you will be able to create from 150,000 shots to over a million products before they would need to be repaired or replaced. Although the tooling cost is high in this procedure, comparing the differences between investment casting vs. die casting, you can select the best of the best option which fulfills your purposes.

Special features of die casting 

  • Especially good for a vast range of productions and massive projects 
  • It gives the product that has a satisfied dimensional tolerance 
  • The small secondary machine needed 
  • The tooling cost is high
  • Primarily suitable for repeatable parts and making consistent
The Investment Casting Process

The Investment Casting Process

In this process, you have to make a wax prototype of your part first and then dip it into liquid ceramic repeatedly. Therefore this investing casting is a time-consuming procedure. Simply here, you make the product using the lost wax (investment casting) technique. What does happen in the process is first, the ceramic hardens, and after that, the wax melts slowly, keeping you with a ceramic mold. 

As the next step of the investment casting technique, we pour molten metal into the ceramic cavity. This ceramic cavity is the cavity that the wax once was. After the solidification of metal, the ceramic mold is broken. Finally, you can remove it, leaving the metal casting. Usually, in the industry, it will take 8-16 weeks to complete the procedure. 

Special features of investment casting 

  • The cost of cooling is low. 
  • Superior surface finish with small extra machining needed 
  • Suitable for complex geometries
  • Can reach vital tolerance needs 
  • Some product size restrictions are there
  • The total cost is higher than the other casting procedures
  • Especially matching for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals 
  • Great precision

The most exciting thing in the casting world is that casting is an authentic relic of the manufacturing society. The different advances of the technology have created particular casting varieties suitable for various applications. Now we have come to the essential part of this article. As I mentioned before, better knowledge about the differences between investment casting vs. die casting is beneficial when choosing the most suitable method for your project.

What are the most suitable methods to select in my project? Investment casting vs. Die casting 

Since no two casting projects are similar and fair with various tasks, we can see different solutions today. Here I have mentioned a few essential facts to consider when selecting the proper casting process, which is primarily suitable for you. 

Annual Volume

Desired payback time for the tool cost is the central fact you should consider when selecting the mostly matching process. This shows the idea of the number of parts created Vs. the cost of the tooling to “break even.” Comparing die casting to investment casting, die casting tooling is primarily suitable for larger production runs and high-volume projects.

But if you are looking for cheaper and lower volume projects, then the investment casting tooling would give you the ideal value for that.

Selection of the materials

Since investment casting is capable of casting those metals along with ferrous metals, including stainless steel, investment casting is the best option if you are looking to use stainless steel or copper alloys. But in the case of die casting, many die-cast parts are made from non-ferrous metals like zinc, aluminum, and magnesium. For people who are looking to use non-ferrous materials, then die casting would be the best option.

Dimensional tolerance comparison

First of all, let’s clarify that what does dimensional tolerance mean? It’s associated with but variable from fit in mechanical engineering, which is a made in clearance or interference between two parts. Commonly this dimensional tolerance is used to parts for manufacturing targets as boundaries for the acceptable build.

When we consider the dimensional tolerance here, I have mentioned the last dimensional tolerance comparison between investment casting and die casting. It allows up to 0.025mm for each additional 25mm.

Die Casting vs Investment Casting

Up to 25mm +/- 0.050mm +/- 0.250mm

Up to 50mm +/- 0.075mm +/- 0.350mm

Up to 75mm +/- .0.100mm +/- 0.400mm

Up to 100mm +/- 0.125mm +/- 0.500mm

Tolerance

The casting tolerance means the unwanted but acceptable deviation from the desired dimensions. The correct measurement thus requires tighter patience. The type of material used and the shape of the part strongly affect the tolerance capabilities in any casting procedure. Especially in the multi-slide die casting process is capable of holding even more, more substantial tolerances.

Cost

Cost indeed is one of the main facts you should consider when comparing investment casting vs. die casting. Usually, cycle time decides up to 60% of your final part cost. Therefore you can confirm without surprise that per part, investment casting generally costs more than die casting.

Its mainly manual process yields parts similar to that of a die casting, but the cycle time is much longer. Considering the high volume, die casting is more cost-effective than investment casting. But in the case of investment, throwing only a very few minor parts or need a larger size or stainless steel. Therefore this investment casting may be the lower-cost option.

Cycle Time

This feature is different from investment casting vs. die casting in a complex way. Since all these two types produce difficult parts, the cycle times differ widely. We can constantly make a die-cast part without the touch of a human hand only with the help of complete automation.

When we talk about traditional investment casting, this is a timely process that requires a lot of labor and hours of work. In contrast, die casting can make three to four shots per minute for conventional die casting and upwards of 45 images per minute with multi-slide die casting. 

Since both investments casting and die casting make parts with different and comparable features, when we require high-volume production, costs and longer cycle times will invest in casting a less-suitable method depending on your duration and needs. In this case, the wisest way is to discuss with a casting engineer with more experience in the field to determine which casting process is best suitable for your next project.

Conclusion

In conclusion, by comparing some unique features of investment casting vs. die casting, you can select the most suitable method for your project. Rather than pit these two processes against one another, I have put some primary considerations when settling on casting procedures. Keep in mind that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each product, project, and company are various. For the success of your project, it’s essential to care about all those features when you are going to select a casting process.

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