Common Defects in Metal Casting and How To Detect Them

Common Defects in Metal Casting and How To Detect Them
  • Opening Intro -

    Even the biggest corporations started small.

    Creating an independent welding and casting company is less difficult than many people think, as welding services are always in demand.

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Besides this, local companies are always in need of replacement parts and components. However, one advantage a large foundry has over a smaller business is the ability to avoid flaws through advanced processes.

A new business is less likely to have access to fool-proof methods and technology. To make up for this, it’s important to be aware of common defects in metal casting and how to detect them.

Mold Problems

Hobbyists and small entrepreneurs are finding success in the metalworking business across the nation. Whether you’re casting industrial components or crafting metal collectibles for hobbyists, the molding problems happen across the board.

It’s important to ensure that the mold is always painstakingly centered, and that all pins are locked in place. While it may seem like a small detail, many details can go wrong.

Commonly, small amounts of metal can ooze out, leaving ugly seams. If not fully centered, the upper and lower portions of the mold can shift during the cooling process, resulting in a warped shape.

Occasionally, the sand from the mold can also fuse to the metal, leaving a rough and glass-like skin fused to the finished piece.

Pore Issues

The next most common defect in metal casting involves gases interacting with the metal as it cools. When gases become trapped inside a mold, they can bubble inside the metal creating holes.

This can be seen externally as dome-shaped pocking. It can also manifest as empty spaces inside the piece, resulting in stress points.

The best way to avoid this is to melt material in a vacuum or introduce the right measure of flux—an additive used to clear impurities. It will take a bit of research and experimentation to find the perfect balance, but it’s well worth the effort.

Cooling Speed Issues

The most common flaws in metal casting of any kind are typically caused by incorrect cooling. Cooling too rapidly often leads to fragile areas of the metal mixture revealing themselves. Some areas may also become too hard or too brittle compared to the rest of the cast.

Warping is also very common, as points in the metal cool at different times, leading to an irregular and half-melted appearance. Finally, if sections of the cast cool too fast, they can break free of the rest of the piece.

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These flaws can be especially hard to detect. Anyone looking to seriously start casting metal needs to be prepared to examine their pieces for flaws. Especially while figuring out the perfect mixtures, get into the habit of visually inspecting every piece.

It can be helpful to look especially close at the interior of pieces or up-close using a borescope. Many flaws will reveal themselves this way, as well as by listening to the ring of the metal and testing the strength of individual pieces.

Image Credit: common defects in metal casting by envato.com

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