What is Metal Casting?
Metal casting is a modern process with ancient roots. In the metal casting process, metal shapes are formed by pouring molten metal into a mold cavity, where it is cooled and later extracted from the mold. Metal casting is arguably the earliest and most influential industrial process in history. It’s used to make many of the metal objects used in our daily lives: automotive parts, train wheels, lamp posts, school bus pedals, and much more.
The Metal Casting Process
Patternmaking – A pattern is a replica of the exterior of the casting. Patterns are typically made of wood, metal, plastic, or plaster. Patternmaking is incredibly important for industrial part-making, where precise calculations are needed to make pieces fit and work together.
Coremaking – If a casting is hollow, an additional piece of sand or metal (called a core) shapes the internal form to make it hollow. Cores are typically strong yet collapsible so they can be easily removed from the finished casting.
Molding – Molding is a multistep process that will form a cast around the pattern using molding sand. In casting, a mold is contained in a frame called a flask. Green sand, or molding sand, is packed into the flask around the pattern. This is known as metal sand casting. Once the sand is packed tight, the pattern can be removed and the cast will remain. Alternatively, a two-piece, non-destructible metal mold can be created so that the mold can be used repeatedly to cast identical parts for industrial applications.
Melting and Pouring Molten Metal – After metal is melted, it is poured into the cavity of the mold and left to solidify. Once solidified, the shakeout process begins: the molds undergo vibration to remove sand from the casting. The end results are a clean cast and sand ready for the reclamation process.
Cleaning – In this final step, the cast metal object is removed from the mold and then fettled. During the fettling, the object is cleaned of any molding material, and rough edges are removed.
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