Die Casting of Metal Parts
Die casting is a recognised production technology usually associated with high production volumes and long leadtimes. However, unlike injection moulding there has been far less attention paid to 'rapid tooling' to meet this requirement.
The primary reason for inclusion here is that the growth of Far Eastern tooling has also provided a source of 'lower cost' tools. Thus from a prototyping perspective, die casting costs can come down to challenge the more conventional alternatives and delivery can come down to 3 - 4 weeks. Whilst these two issues cannot always be achieved simultaneously, and both are a function of part complexity, die casting must now be considered as a prototyping solution with the potential to also address early production requirements.
The greatest upside to using this process is that it delivers the production intent material and, once the tooling is in place, parts are available quickly and at low cost.
In considering die casting as a prototyping solution, understanding the available time and attention to the CAD model are both paramount if goals are to be met.
In this context and timeframes, the parts will tend to be simple. Large, complex undercut housings will still take an unacceptable time and are best approached via CNC. However where the requirement is for a couple of hundred parts, the tool is open/close and the data in good condition, die casting can provide an economic solution.
As each project is different, it is best to review your requirement early. To that end please contact Plunkett Associates