Investment casting is an industrial process based on lost-wax casting, one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques. Investment castings involves creating an original wax model, coating the image with plaster and building of successive layers until a strong shell envelops the model. After melting out the wax, molten gold or bronze will be poured into the mold, creating a perfect duplicate of the original wax pattern.
Investment casting can produce complicated shapes that would be difficult or impossible with other casting methods. It can also produce products with exceptional surface qualities and low tolerances with minimal surface finishing or machining required.
Investment casting is used with almost any castable metal. However, aluminum alloys, copper alloys, and steel are the most common.
The process can be used for both small castings of a few ounces and large castings weighing several hundred pounds. Investment casting is used in the aerospace, navigation, power generation, building industries, etc.