Plaster mold casting is a manufacturing process that relies on plaster molds to form and shape metal. As part of this technique, workers must first mix and shape wet plaster to make a three-dimensional mold. By filling the mold with molten metals, companies are able to create cast metal objects ranging from tools to jewelry. Plaster mold casting serves as a popular alternative to traditional sand casting, and offers numerous benefits in terms of product range and finish quality.
The plaster mold casting process begins as workers create a metal or rubber pattern using standard machining techniques. Workers then use this pattern to create a series of molds using gypsum-based plaster. Other materials may be added to the plaster as needed to withstand high temperatures or accommodate certain types of projects. After the molds have dried, workers can proceed with plaster mold casting.
The mold is often sprayed with a lubricant to prevent sticking, similar to using butter or cooking spray when frying food. The metal is heated until it reaches a liquid state, then poured into an opening within the mold. After the metal has cooked and re-solidified, the plaster mold is removed by separating it into two halves. After plaster mold casting is complete, a metal object may require additional refinement and refinishing. Any seams or flaws may be removed using a grinder, and the surface can be polished or painted.
One of the primary advantages to plaster mold casting is that it offers a high level of efficiency and helps to reduce waste. The only metal required is melted to fit the exact size of the mold, and any remaining metal can easily be added to another mold. This not only keeps material costs low, but helps to preserve limited resources. This process also offers a great deal of versatility and design options compared to sand casting techniques. Plaster casting allows for very small or delicate details to be added to the metal, and makes it easy to maintain a high degree of accuracy.
One limitation to plaster mold casting is that it can only be used on non-ferrous materials, such as copper or aluminum. This is due to the higher melting point of steel, which would damage the plaster during casting. Products created in plaster molds also require a great deal of cooling time, which could limit production and increase labor expenses due to the increased production times.