Casting is a metalworking process that dates back thousands of years, and yet we still use it today. You can find metal casting methods everywhere in the modern era, from industrial manufacturing plants to metal art studios. Metal casting can be a helpful technique for modern blacksmiths and metal workers working to create specific shapes and objects. If you’re interested in using metal casting to make your forging processes more efficient, start by learning more about this topic. Start with this guide to the main types of furnaces and other equipment used in metal casting.
What Is Metal Casting?
For those who aren’t familiar and want to learn more about it, metal casting is the process of transferring molten metal into a mold to create a cast. After removing the new metal form from the cast, a metalworker can finish the cast through other metalworking techniques, such as blacksmithing. The casting process creates unique metal shapes that businesses and individuals can use in manufacturing, crafting, artwork, toolmaking, and more. Casting is a more efficient and less expensive way to create a specific metal shape or piece for manufacturing.
Applications of Metal Casting
Metal casting takes place in various settings, from large-scale industrial facilities to home workshops and jewelry studios. There is a wide range of applications for this forging method. We use metal casting in modern times for everything, from manufacturing heavy equipment parts to creating the smallest, most delicate jewelry pieces. Metal casting is a popular technique for home forgers looking to create specific shapes or pieces of metal for tools, defense weapons, decorative art pieces, and jewelry. Whether you’re interested in metal casting as a business owner or hobbyist metal worker, you’ll find some way to use this method to improve your daily creation process.
Furnaces Used for Metal Casting
Now that you know the basics of metal casting, you can explore the equipment that this process requires. The furnace is one of the most important pieces of equipment for metal casting, and there are multiple styles that are compatible with this process. Depending on your metal casting applications, you may prefer some models over others. The furnace you use will determine which metals you can cast, what materials you need, and more. Review the distinct types of metal casting furnaces below to get a better idea of which style would be best for your applications.
Cupola furnaces feature traditional cylindrical designs and typically consist of clay bricks or blocks. Cupola furnaces are one of the oldest varieties of casting furnaces and have stood the test of time, as some industrial metalworkers and foundries still use them today. Workers line the furnace with layers of limestone, coke, and sedimentary rock to purify the metal and enhance the casting process. Cupola furnaces are most popular for melting iron, cast iron, and some bronze materials.
Induction furnaces are extremely popular in modern foundries and blacksmithing workshops. These high-quality furnaces are easy to use and control their heat output for metal a variety of metals. Induction furnaces are more efficient than many other furnaces because they offer excellent heat control and provide direct heat to the metal itself. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient furnace for your facility or workshop, consider an induction model. Iron, brass, steel, aluminum, and copper are all common metals to use with induction furnaces.
Open Hearth Furnace
When you need to melt small batches of nonferrous metals, choose the open hearth furnace. This type of furnace uses natural gas or oil fuels to heat and metal these metals. Open hearth furnace types are common for use in industrial steel making. They do have greater costs of operation due to their fuel needs, which is why they are more common in large-scale industrial applications.
Electric Arc Furnaces
Electric arc furnaces often appear in industrial metal casting applications. They remove iron from iron ores. These furnaces consist of reinforced steel plates and have a squat, cylindrical shape. They have increased efficiency, especially compared to blast furnaces, which suit the preliminary smelting of raw materials.
Other Equipment Used in Metal Casting
Now that you know some of the main types of furnaces used in metal casting, you can start to explore the other tools metalworkers use for this process. Here is a quick list of the other tools you’ll need if you want to start metal casting in your workshop.
There is just as much variety in casting molds as there is in casting furnaces. There are two main types of casting molds: reusable and expendable molds. These molds open the doors to several types of casting methods. For example, when using reusable molds or semi-permanent molds, you can experiment with slush casting, centrifugal casting, pressure casting, die casting, and more, depending on your furnace and tools. Expendable molds are more specific to sand casting, shell molding, wax casting, and more. The type of mold you choose is often dependent on your applications. For example, you could choose a more delicate or decorative cast when creating a metallic art piece.
Crucibles are a must-have for holding your scrap metals and other pieces during metal casting. The crucible holds the melted metal before the metalworker transfers it to the mold for casting. Crucibles, tongs, safety materials, and more are all crucial pieces you’ll need to initiate the metal casting process.
Where To Find Materials for Metal Casting
Some of the best metals to use for casting include aluminum and other materials with low melting points. These materials are ideal for beginner metalworkers because you can melt them down with most types of furnaces. If you’re looking for metal casting furnaces, molds, and other equipment for the casting process, check out our selection at Cast Master Elite. We carry metal melting furnace kits that supply everything you need to start creating your own molds.
Now that you’re more educated on the different tools and equipment pieces you’ll need to cast metal, you can start collecting the tools you need to start. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for everything blacksmithing and metalworking, you can find the kits and accessories you need at Cast Master Elite. We supply a wide range of furnaces, crucibles, tongs, and safety equipment for every type of blacksmith or metalworker.