Frequently Asked Questions: Custom Metal Casting & Foundry Services
Answers to common questions for custom metal casting & foundry services
If you can't find the information you're looking for, please contact Reliance Foundry's Sales Department at any time.
- What is a foundry?
A foundry is a facility that produces metal castings and offers related services such as mold-making, melting, pouring, degassing, heat treating, surface cleaning and other finishing operations.
- What is a metal casting?
Casting (or founding) is a manufacturing process used to produce solid metal pieces called castings. Molten metal is poured into a mold. Once in the mold, the metal cools and solidifies in the shape of the mold cavity.
Casting offers exceptional freedom in forming intricate components. It is also conducive to high-volume production runs, where material quantities can be efficiently controlled to minimize waste and reduce cost.
- Can Reliance Foundry complete my custom casting project?
We offer expert custom casting services. Past projects have included both private and public sector contracts for high-performance castings.
- How much do metal castings cost?
The cost of casting varies according to project demands such as:
- Casting function
- Metal grade
- Finishing / secondary processing requirements
Casting relies on economies of scale, so higher volume production runs will cost less per casting than low volume runs. For detailed information on costs for your project, request a quote at our Custom Metal & Foundry Services page.
- What casting methods does Reliance Foundry use?
A range of casting methods are available, but three of the most common forms include sand casting (expendable mold, permanent pattern), die casting (permanent mold) and investment casting (expendable mold, expendable pattern).
- Sand casting is a method characterized by the use of sand as the mold material. Sand-cast surfaces are not as smooth as with other methods, and additional machining, including the removal of gates and risers, is typically required. Sand casting is one of the most common methods used by foundries and can be used for both short and long production runs.
- Die casting is a method that involves injecting molten metal under pressure into a mold, or die. Die casting can achieve high dimensional accuracy, detail, and smooth cast surfaces that require minimal machining. Due to the cost of die production, die casting is most suitable for high-volume runs. Ferrous metals are rarely used as an injection material.
- Investment casting is usually used for intricate products requiring a high degree of accuracy with minimal machining. It can be used to create products with smooth surfaces and no parting lines, but at a higher cost for high-volume runs. Investment casting is also referred to as lost-wax casting.
See our methods resource pages for more information on sand casting and investment casting.
- What metals does Reliance Foundry offer?
Any metal that can be melted can be cast. Foundries use different metals depending on the structural and performance requirements of the casting project. Ferrous metals are predominantly used for their strong mechanical properties, while nonferrous metals are used for other qualities related to weight, conductivity, magnetism, and corrosion resistance.
Reliance Foundry specializes in casting the following metals:
- I don’t have a pattern. Can Reliance Foundry develop one for me?
Yes. If you do not have a preexisting pattern, Reliance Foundry will work with you to develop one. We will strategically select the most cost effective methods to meet your product specifications and quantity requirements.
Pattern development is an investment, and is usually undertaken for longer production runs.
- I don’t understand a foundry term. Where can I find the definition?
You can find definitions for foundry terms like green sand, casting pattern, and annealing in our Foundry Glossary.
- What secondary processing does Reliance Foundry offer for custom castings?
We are proud to offer a range of high quality secondary processing. These services include fabrication, heat treatment, machining, passivation, assembly, and powder coating.
- Can Reliance Foundry take care of shipping?
Our services don’t end with production. We prepare and package all products for safe transport and storage, manage all import costs and logistics, and arrange delivery to your specified location.
- What type of Quality Assurance does Reliance Foundry offer?
We are proud to offer top quality casting services.
To maintain our high standards, we have two stages of quality assurance: first we send a prototype to ensure your specifications and expectations are met. Once formal production begins, we establish on-site manufacturing standards and conduct quality assurance procedures and non-destructive testing.