The casting process has existed for centuries, yet this question still comes up from time to time. At Smith Foundry we even ask that same question. Not everything is best made as a casting, and even if it is, there are usually a dozen ways to make it. The foundry’s job is to gather as much information as we can about the project and desired outcomes and if it makes sense as a casting, quote appropriate tooling and a casting solution that fits. Sounds pretty simple.
Mystery of casting
Metal casting has been referred to as “Black Magic” by some, and for somewhat understandable reasons. It’s not always easy to get your head around the fact that molten cast iron that pours like water can turn into a strong and versatile material when solid. On top of that this process takes place hidden in a black box of sand. That is exactly what makes castings such a great option. Smith Foundry can produce some really innovative and dramatic shapes and features much more economically than any other process. Smooth, flowing, good looking designs. 3d modeling has helped eliminate some of the mystery, as have 3d printing and solidification modeling. These tools make it much easier to collaborate with customers on design and to visualize what is going on in the black box.
Building block mentality of fabrication
Nothing wrong with fabrications, they definitely serve a purpose, but I don’t see too many sexy looking ones. They get the job done, but tend to look like a bunch of building blocks glued together. Not only do they look blocky, welding opens up potential failure points and there are directional properties to take into consideration. With castings, not only can you get a sexy looking part, but you eliminate welding and have isotropic properties (nearly the same properties in all directions). To see examples of this contrast, check out the Accolades section on the website to see some projects that illustrate these differences.
Over the next few months we will be posting some articles with tips for making the most of your casting design. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about casting conversions or wanting some assistance, please contact our team.
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