Today’s automotive industry is the world’s largest buyer of aluminum sand casting services, but it’s not the only industry that’s interested. Meanwhile, more than half of all cars on the road have at least one part that was made with mold. Between aluminum transmission housings and pistons to rims and radio components, this material and process have been used to make safe, efficient, lightweight vehicles since the beginning of the 20th century.
What is aluminum sand casting?
If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet versatile method for forming aluminum, then casting may be the key. It’s a relatively simple process that’s commonly used to machine automotive and aerospace products, but it can be found elsewhere as well. Most large-scale aluminum fabrication projects employ sand molds to cast-aluminum safely and efficiently. So, aluminum sand casting is growing quickly in popularity and practicality.
DID YOU KNOW: Aluminum sand casting was used in the construction of the Washington Monument.
What are the advantages of the sand casting process?
Any legitimate machinist will tell you that sand casting has several advantages, especially when you compare the process to more complex and expensive alternatives. That’s because aluminum parts that are cast in sand molds perform similarly to gray iron components. In fact, here are the top 5 reasons why sand casting is often the best choice for large-scale metal fabrication projects:
#1. Machinability of the material
Highly machinable materials such as aluminum offer enhanced flexibility during the design process. Machinists can easily cast intricately cored components and parts with complex feet while also adhering to strict industry standards and innovating practices.
#2. Low tooling costs
The aluminum sand casting process offers one of the lowest tooling costs of all machining methods because it uses expendable molds. As a result, ASC also creates much shorter lead times, providing project managers with a lot more wiggle room for prototyping and redesigning.
#3. High-quality, high-speed renderings
Whether you’re making parts for a small project or for mass production is a major industry, the speedy production rates of casting aluminum are incredibly beneficial. In fact, the highly efficient way each component is made allows the manufacturer to crank out thousands of units per day.
#4. Wide availability
There is a wide range of different aluminum grades and alloys to choose from, making it even easier to customize your metal products and machining outcomes. Several properties are at your disposal as well, with between 16k and 50k tensile to provide superior resistance to corrosion.
#5. Great surface finishes
When machined correctly, high-density aluminum molds provide a remarkable surface finish that can be used in countless applications. That’s because the increased pressure and advanced machining technologies create castings with excellent exteriors and fortified interiors.
This process and material also provide the least sensitive gating, feeding, and heat removal structure available in modern mass production. Machinists can use it with almost any ferrous or non-ferrous alloy known to humankind and it’s still not as expensive as other processes. So, talk to a CNC expert to get more information on how aluminum sand casting can boost your budget, loosen your schedule, and produce better machining outcomes.
Why is aluminum good for sand casting?
Aluminum is a highly prized material because of its innate characteristics which make it extremely machinable. Not only is it strong yet malleable but it’s also non-conductive with electricity and resistant to corrosion of many types. Hailed for their lightweight strength, aluminum alloys let machinists make thin-walled products that are still accurate and durable. It’s also ideal for large-scale metal fabrication projects in advanced industries.
Casting with aluminum isn’t anything new, though. Our economy has a long history of using it to make common household products. The very first commercial items ever created from this process were decorative cooking pots. And while those products were made using this tried-and-true machining method, consumers remained fascinated by the “new” and “unique” engineering.
Meanwhile, clever merchants were able to push their molded products through reputable CNC machine shops for mass production. They enjoyed lower tooling costs, faster manufacturing, and better quality items. As a result, aluminum sand casting became a standard for making certain consumer goods and soon became a primary process in advanced manufacturing.
Important facts to consider
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies with aluminum sand casting; there are a few disadvantages to consider before starting a new project. Here’s what you need to know:
- Your projects may contain a slightly lower dimensional accuracy, especially if you use the no-bake molding process over green sand molding.
- It may be difficult to maintain the patterns because they’re bulky and hard to store, so pattern-free molding may be the only feasible option.
- All casting molds have to be designed with a slight taper (or draft) for safe, easy, and damage-free part removal.
- Negative forms to create cores must be employed when making castings with cavities.
Although aluminum sand casting is a relatively simple process when compared to some others, it still requires the knowledge and experience of a certified CNC machinist. There are also several stages wherein adjustments and changes can or should be made before the final product gets mass-produced. So, consider making a prototype first and always consult with your design and engineering teams for more tailored information.
Break the mold today
Get started on your casting projects right away with the help of a dedicated team. Pioneer Cuts specializes in serving the aerospace and automotive industries using state-of-the-art technologies, advanced machining processes, and certified staff. Contact someone in the sales department to begin or submit your information online to get a quick 6-hour project quote.