Casting Stainless Steel
Stainless steel investment casting is a long and arduous process that is a necessity for the creation of many products and tools, from machine parts to golf club heads. Even though the casting process is thousands of years old, the process of casting metal has actually changed little since its original invention. With the exception of the types of tools and supplies used to melt and shape the metal, the overall stainless steel investment casting process remains the same.
A typical casting session looks something like this:
Wax molding: Wax is injected into a metal mold in the same shape as the desired metal part. The wax is then cooled and removed from the mold, leaving an exact representation of the product to be manufactured from stainless steel. The wax molds are dipped into a ceramic slurry to create a mold casing for the finished metal piece. The ceramic is then baked to harden, and the wax melts out of the mold at this point, leaving a mold cavity for the metal.
Filling the mold: The ceramic mold is then filled with the liquid stainless steel mixture. Some companies pour in the metal by hand, while others use machines to fill the molds. The metal is allowed to cool inside the mold.
Finishing the metal: After the mold is cooled, the factory removes the ceramic mold. Usually, the factory will break the mold away from the metal or use vibrations and chemical cleaning to remove the mold. After the metal emerges, the company will saw off any unwanted pieces of metal and polish the metal piece until it is smooth and shines brightly. This same process is repeated many times a day for the factory to receive the highest number of metal pieces possible within the day’s work.