Water Glass Investment Casting
The water glass casting process is very similar to investment casting (ie the lost wax method), but is particularly suited to larger castings, and is cheaper to produce. The process provides a far superior surface finish and dimensional precision to that achieved through sand casting, and more complex shapes can be achieved. In addition to steels, it is possible to cast alternative materials such as iron and SG iron using this method.
The process only differs from the lost wax method at the point where the wax is removed from the ceramic mould. Investment casting uses high temperature autoclaves to melt the wax, whereas, with the water glass process, the moulds are submersed in hot water. The wax then melts away from the moulds and floats on the surface of the water, enabling it to be skimmed off and reused for wax making purposes. Obviously, this also provides environmental advantages and the wax is completely recyclable.
Lestercast is able to offer the water glass option through its partner company in China, who have a wealth of experience in manufacturing components using this process.
To summarise, the water glass process offers:
- Superior surface finish than sand casting.
- Greater dimensional precision than sand casting.
- More complex parts can be achieved.
- Larger parts than the traditional investment casting method.
- Cheaper than investment casting.
- Greater choice of metals.
- Environmental advantages.
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