Metalcasting’s Scientific Formula

The science of designing and sourcing a metal casting is tricky.

You may be somewhat familiar with the manufacturing process of metalcasting, having seen some videos, read some material and maybe even toured a supplier or two.

You probably are familiar with cast materials (iron, steel, aluminum, etc.), but metalcasting-specific terminology, like 356 aluminum, class 30 gray iron and austempered ductile iron, is unique.

Welcome to Metal Casting Design & Purchasing (MCDP), the magazine exploring the science of metalcasting to enhance your understanding of its capabilities. I say welcome because our magazine always has new readers. For those who have been with us for a while, our door is always open to you.

Our goal at MCDP is to make your professional life easier by helping you with anything and everything related to metalcasting, including that formula to design and source the optimal casting.

If you are a designer and you need to design a cast component from scratch, convert a fabrication to a casting, improve the manufacturability of a casting defect and/or rectify a defect occurring in production, we have resources for you.

If you are a purchaser and you need to find a casting supplier, qualify a new supplier, understand a material specification and/or decipher a quote for a casting, we are here to help.

We want to be your casting resource. Since we don’t produce any castings, our skin in the game is to make sure you are provided a cast solution every time it makes sense.

In your quest to further understand the science of castings, this issue of MCDP offers a variety of help for both the novice and experienced designer and buyer.

Take a look at our feature, “When to Cast, When to Machine,” on p. 29. All designers face the dilemma of whether to cast a feature or machine it. Typically, designers default to machining because that is what they understand best.  But, opportunities exist for casting to reduce costs.

“As you go from sand casting to permanent mold to diecasting and investment casting, you want more as-cast features because you achieve better tolerances,” said Jiten Shah, president of Product Development Analysis, Naperville, Ill. “But the dimensional tolerances are not as great as machining, no matter what process you use.”

In our feature, “Casting Sourcing: Choosing Between Green Sand, Nobake,” on p. 33, the hope is to further your understanding of selecting the proper combination of material and casting process to ensure the best source for your engineered cast component. As stated in the article, “While the green sand process is one of the most economical metal manufacturing methods, when an application requires the process to reach beyond its normal capabilities, it can become more expensive.” The key for casting buyers is to try to work within the realistic realm of the capabilities of a manufacturing process and the supplier performing it. When suppliers are asked to perform outside their comfort zone, the results can be more prone to fall short of expectations.

Metalcasting is a science. When designing and sourcing cast components, you must have the correct scientific formula to ensure success. MCDP is your cheat sheet to developing that formula.

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