Why Use Investment Casting?
- Good quality surface finish
- Near-net shape / little or no machining required.
- Ideal for complex castings
- Used for ferrous and non-ferrous metals and super alloys.
- Option to reduce lead time with 3d printed waxes replacing tooling.
- Rapid prototyping
Good quality surface finish
In simple terms, the investment casting process consists of coating a wax pattern with several layers of slurry and ceramic. This is hardened to create a mold. The wax pattern is melted away from the inside of the hardened mold and replaced with molten metal producing a metal replica of the wax pattern. Due to the nature of the process and the stringent measures during the manufacturing process to prevent contamination and defects, we can produce components with an extremely high surface finish. Investment casting is ideal for mirror-polished components which need to be aesthetically pleasing.
Near-net shape / little machining required
Due to the process, described very briefly above, the components can be easily produced with no requirement for draft angles etc. The wax replica is produced slightly larger than the component required to allow for contraction. As metal contraction varies from one metal to another, the technical team’s expertise along with our technology allows us to produce parts to near net shape.
Due to the nature of the process, investment casting requires little machining. The main machining required is carried out in-house, which consists of removal of the feed. All the metal feeds, metal gates, and sacrificial wax is recycled. There is very little wastage with investment casting.
Investment casted parts are ideal for valves, pumps and other motorised parts.
Ideal for complex castings
Complex parts can be easily produced. Using 3d printed waxes as part of the investment casting process, can further the possibilities in shape.
Used for ferrous and non-ferrous metals and super alloys.
Lestercast can produce castings in ferrous & non-ferrous metals and super alloys. This is unlike other methods where restrictions apply. Our process also allows temperatures as high as 1650°C, enabling us to produce high temperature alloy components ideal for the motorsport industry.
Castings can be produced in over 50 grades of metals and super alloys.
Option to reduce lead time with 3d printed waxes replacing tooling.
Lestercast were one of the first foundries in the UK to offer 3d printed wax patterns. We can print the wax patterns, eliminating the need for tooling and therefore, reducing cost and lead times for the customer. This is useful for low production volumes and for prototypes. Many customers use printed waxes initially, before switching to hard tooling for higher volumes.
Investment casting is often used as a rapid prototyping method. Components can be easily & cheaply produced and tested before expensive tooling is manufactured for high volume production. 3D printing the wax patterns can reduce lead times, speeding up the prototyping process.