Titanium Investment Casting
Titanium investment casting is the manufacturing process that produces parts through the metallic replication of wax models. The resulting titanium parts have a very smooth finish that requires little finishing after the process. Investment casting is effective at producing complex and detailed parts other methods cannot. There are no joints or flash lines because the part is made as one whole piece.
Quick links to Titanium Investment Casting Information
Applications of Titanium Investment Casting
Titanium investment casting is expensive compared to other methods like die casting, although it has lower equipment costs and requires less finishing. Investment casting can be done by hand in single or small batches, or it can be semi-automated and produce hundreds of parts at once. Castings can be as small as fractions of an inch thick to weighing 1,000 pounds, though most parts are 15 pounds or less. Titanium castings are very strong and lightweight.
These castings are used in many applications and industries, including:
- Turbocharger Components
- Industrial Tools and Instruments
- Power Generation
- Medical Industries
Materials Commonly Used in Investment Casting
A variety of metal alloys may be used in the investment casting process, including aluminum, copper, and stainless steel, which are some of the most common materials. Because a wax model is created in the exact size and shape as the part, investment casting, or wax casting, allows for high dimensional accuracy.
Process of Titanium Investment Casting
The process of investment casting begins with a wax replica of the part that has been hand or machine carved or produced through injection molding. The wax pattern is attached to a sprue or wax rod. Depending on the side and shape of the part, several hundred patterns may be attached to the same sprue, resulting in an assembly called a tree. The tree is dipped in a ceramic slurry called the investment. It is dipped multiple times in mixtures that are increasingly coarse. When the investment is thick enough on the wax pattern, it is left to dry. Another method is to place the tree in a flask and pour investment into the container until the tree is completely covered. The use of a low temperature oven or a vacuum can speed the process. Once dry, the tree is placed in an oven or furnace upside down to allow the melting wax to drip out. During the burnout phase, the investment shell is left to heat even more to completely eliminate any residual moisture or wax. Molten titanium is poured in the space and may be drawn in through vacuum, positive air pressure, or centrifugal casting procedures. Once the titanium part is cooled and hardened, the investment is removed through a variety of techniques, including vibrations, hammers, a dissolving agent, or media-blasting.