July 29, 2018 | Prototype Casting

All About Casting – The Pros And Cons Of Various Casting Processes

From prototype to production, we at ProtoCast Inc offer clean, efficient manufacturing with specializations in aluminum, zinc, magnesium cast along with CNC machines parts for applications in oil and gas, robotics, medical, defense, aerospace, automotive, and other industries. Whether you are interested in tool making, machined parts, aluminum heat treating, or one of our seven different casting processes, we’ve got you covered in and around the Denver area. In fact, our experience and industry knowledge have made us one of the top foundries in the entire state of Colorado.

At the risk of tooting our own horn a bit, we pride ourselves on the way we can manufacture metal components in prototype and low-volume production quantities. We have a passion for delivering functional components and assemblies at an affordable price. If you are looking for a local foundry worth their salt, we have a variety of complementary processes to assist you in producing everything from printed parts to production die castings.

Metal Casting Processes At Protocast Inc.

Now that we’ve gotten some of the formalities out of the way, we offer numerous casting processes here at Protocast Inc. People often come to us looking for a tailored solution because they know we have the resources and experience to offer them what they are looking for. No matter if a prospective customer is looking for rapid investment casting with the use of a lost wax process or an air set precision sand cast to help us focus on production quantities, we have a process that fits the mold for the job our customers have in mind.

And if, for some odd and unforeseen reason, we don’t have the right equipment to get the job done, we’ll let you know! We aren’t in the business of cutting corners for easy sales. We want our first-time customers to become long-term clients here at Protocast, and our two decade’s worth of experience speaks to that commitment. That being said, this post is concerned with highlighting the chief pros and cons of some of the most common casting processes we utilize. If you are interested in choosing Protocast Inc. of Denver as your local machine shop of choice, or even if you are simply looking to learn a little bit about the wonderful world of casting, read on! This post is for you.

Investment Casting Pros

Investment casting, also referred to as lost wax casting, is a process most commonly used in situations where you have both solid parts, and complex cores are needed to complete the job. Among its chief advantages are the fact that it can offer remarkably close dimensional tolerances, depending on the material used during the high-quality investment casting service performed. Another “pro” for investment casting is that both non-ferrous and ferrous metals can easily be cast using this approach. Investment casting offers us the ability to be a bit more creative when it comes to design, even when using alloys that can be difficult to machine. Using complex shapes, finer details, thinner walls, and complicated core sections are all possible when you utilize investment casting.


One of the chief drawbacks of investment casting has to do with cost. It’s almost always going to be pricier than sand casting, plaster casting, and permanent mold. What’s more there’s a limit to the size of parts which are able to be cast, along with the fact that investment casting usually takes a bit longer with reference to a product-cycle time.

The long and the short of it is that if you require precision and flexibility with your project’s intricacies, investment casting is worth learning more about.

Sand Casting Benefits

Sand casting involves the use of silica-based materials, like naturally-bonded or synthetic sand. To cast sand, you need to tightly pack spherical grains to the point where they form a smooth molding surface. The theory behind sand casting is that it diminishes the chances of cracking, tearing, or other flaws emerging from the casting process due to its remarkable flexibility and shrinkage while the cooling process takes place. Examples of sand casted products include engine blocks and housings, among many other products in the automotive industry.

Advantages of the sand casting process include a relatively low cost (especially for post-casting tooling), the ability to cast non-ferrous and ferrous materials, and the capacity to fabricate ample-sized components.

Sand Casting Cons

The main drawback of sand casting is fairly simple — it lacks the accuracy that other casting methods can boast. On top of that, it’s pretty tough to get a sand casting product to yield a smooth surface finish. Keep in mind that such a drawback is nitpicking in most instances, so be sure to ask the experts at Protocast Inc. if you have concerns about using sand casting for your next project.

Die Casting Advantages

Die casting chief advantage is that it sounds much cooler than the other kind of casting processes. Aside from that cursory observation, die casting as a method of mold materials is used for close size and shape tolerances. Folks elect to go this route due to its high component dimensional consistency along with its fairly uniform design. A final benefit to this casting method which typically utilizes non-ferrous metals and alloys includes the fact that using die casting usually diminishes the need for post-casting machining. Hence, it can save you a good chunk of change, all things considered.

Die Casting Cons

Die casting has a bit of an issue in that it can cost a pretty penny with regards to tooling. However, in more high-volume product situations, it can be a cost-effective situation. What’s more, it’s not always a straightforward process to make sure that the mechanical properties of a die cast component are functional structural parts. Again, our knowledgeable and friendly experts at Protocast Inc. can help navigate issues such as these as they relate to the particular casting project you have in mind.

Plaster Casting

Plaster casting is very similar to sand casting, but instead of using sand in the casting process, plaster casting involves combining gypsum, water, and various strengthening compounds to accomplish the goal.

Its advantages include its smooth, as-cast finish, the as-cast walls being thinner than with other processes, complex shapes with intricate details being easily accomplished, and a closer dimensional tolerance than sand casting can offer. On top of this, plaster casting boasts the fact that it is less expensive than investment casting, which is never a bad thing.

In terms of disadvantages, electing to go the route of plaster casting might mean you’ll need to replace your plaster molding materials more quickly than with other casting processes.

Choose plaster casting if you are looking for an economical option that also affords you the ability to be more intricate than you would be with other casting processes.

Other Casting Processes

We also offer printed sand mold processing, permanent mold casting, and other options when it comes to processes to manufacture your parts. As you can tell, each process we offer has natural limitations and its own advantages.

If you have more questions after reading this post, we completely understand that, as there is plenty more to each process than what we have revealed in today’s post. However, our sales staff and team of engineers are on hand at Protocast Inc. to answer any question you might have. We are experienced, passionate, and ready to assist you with whatever casting, prototyping, or machining needs you might have. Contact us today!