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July 14, 2013
Plaster Mold Casting versus Sand Mold Casting: Whatís the Difference?

Sand mold casting and Plaster mold casting are often mentioned as being similar to each other.  With a production process that is incredibly similar, it’s no wonder that these two processes are often described as likenesses of each other.  But if you’re going to put money into a casting process you’d probably like to know the difference between the two, right?  If that’s the case then continue reading because today we’re going to differentiate between the two processes as well as examine the benefits and drawbacks of both methods.

 Sand mold casting is a process that been around for literally thousands of years, while plaster mold casting is the baby of the two procedures.  The major difference between the two, as you have probably guessed, is that a sand casting is formed with sand and a plaster casting is formed with plaster.  So what does this mean regarding the finished product?

 A sand casting is more likely to produce a grainy, rougher surface finish due to the porous nature of the sand used in the process, while a plaster casting is generally said to have a smoother surface finish that is similar to a die casting finish.  Plaster mold casting can generally only accommodate metals with lower melting temperatures like aluminum, magnesium, zinc, and copper due to the delicacy of the plaster.  Sand casting is typically used for heavier metals such as iron, steel, bronze, or brass because the sand mold is capable of dealing with the higher melting temperatures of these metals.

 Both means of casting are praised for being highly efficient and economical.  Neither method creates much waste.  Often, materials like unused or excess metals can be recycled for use in the next batch of products.

 Plaster mold casting is a longer process than sand mold casting, and because of this, has its trademark smooth surface finish.  This is due to the low thermal conductivity of the plaster which causes the metal to cool slowly.  Due to the non-porous nature of the plaster mold, these molds are often used for designs that are more complex because of the plaster’s ability to yield thinner wall thicknesses than sand molds.

 So what we see in the end is that there are numerous advantages for each product, while each also has their own handful of drawbacks.  Sand casting is a quicker process that will work more effectively for product designs that are simple, whereas more intricate designs require a slower molding process like sand casting.  In addition to this, if the product must be made of a heavier metal, such as steel, the sand casting method must be used, simply because the plaster mold cannot accommodate the heat from these metals.

 Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for in your product: heavy, tough, and unrefined (sand casting) versus elaborate, strong, and smooth (plaster casting).  Whichever method you prefer, at K&H we have the know-how and the skills to produce the best product possible.

July 14, 2013
Sand Mold Casting: What it is and why we do it

Sand casting is an age old process that originated in China as early as 645 BCE.  That being the case, we are able to see that, even today, sand casting is not a highly technologically advanced process.  Nonetheless, it is one of the simplest and most economical methods for casting metal.  At K&H Precision we have perfected this ancient art in order to serve you as effectively as possible.  Using fine sand and a urethane binder give us the ability to produce a better surface finish than what is normally found in traditional sand casting.  Additionally, we are able to incorporate more complex geometry that is simply not possible with traditional oil bonded sand.

 So what is sand casting?

 Sand casting is a method for casting metal characterized by the use of sand for the mold material and molten metal to form the actual casting. 

 How is it created?

 A sand casting is created first by molding the sand into the pattern of the desired casting.  We do this by using a top-of-the-line urethane binder that allows for greater complexity and higher quality in the finished product.  The sand mold is contained in a flask that creates a frame around the mold to allow for stability, consistency, and accuracy.  Once the mold is completed, it is filled with a metal such as iron, bronze, brass, steel, or zinc.  After the metal is poured into the mold, it is allowed to cool.  Once this occurs, the sand mold is removed, leaving the finished casting of metal.  Often the casting is subjected to various types of treatments that strengthen it after it is removed from the sand mold.

 Why do you do it?

 There are many advantages to sand mold casting, the first and foremost being cost.  The materials used in the process are relatively inexpensive for us to acquire and use.  The upside of this is that anything that is of low cost to us will be of low cost to you as well.

 In addition to being an incredibly economical process, sand casting is a relatively quick method of casting.  This is another case where something that is a positive for us, turns into a positive for you as well.  The quicker we are able to create a product, the quicker you will receive it.

 Moreover, the sand mold process produces less waste than many other casting methods.  In an industry where profit and cost depend on the amount of materials used, anything that produces a small amount of waste is an advantage for us.

 At K&H we know that sometimes the best solution is the simplest one.  This is often the case with sand mold casting.  While not an incredibly complex or technologically advanced casting method, it is one that we are highly knowledgeable about and that produces consistent results.  By mixing simplicity with creativity and a high level of skill, we use our sand mold casting process to create a product that is both durable and effective.


Aluminum die casting Honeoye