The process of lost wax casting involves creating both simple and highly complex objects with a range of different metals through casting a unique pattern or model. This way of working is one of the oldest of its kind and has been found to date back as far as 6,000 years. Despite its age, lost wax casting is still widely used to this day for creating art, for dentistry purposes, and for making high quality jewelry. It is also used within industry for creating highly precise metal parts for manufacturing and engineering.
Whilst this process has always been done by hand, more and more nowadays it is being done with the help of modern technology, such as 3D printing and digital design. The advent of these technological advances has really worked to simplify the overall process, through both lowering costs and saving time. Lost wax casting has truly been brought into the 21st century.
The steps involved
The lost wax casting steps are different depending on what it is being used for and the industry that it is being used in. That being said, typically the process involves casting parts using a wax model (direct method) or using a replica that is based on the wax model (indirect method). Where the direct method is used, it jumps all the way from step 1, through to step 4.
- Model Making
- Producing a mold
- Creating a wax pattern
- Putting together the wax pattern
- Putting on investment materials
What it is used for
There are a number of different fields where lost wax casting is used. Because of the advances in technology and the fact that the process has been simplified, it is being used to create more and more different things. Some of the applications that it is used for include the following:
- Manufacturing – where mass production of metal parts is required within an industry, lost wax casting is an effective and relatively cheap manufacturing process. It is currently used to produce components and parts for industries, including medical, automotive, and aerospace. Traditionally the patterns for these types of components are created by hand where the product is not being produced on mass. With 3D printing, it has made the process of creating patterns so much faster and easier, meaning lead times have become much shorter.
- Dentistry – this has been a standard process in the field of dentistry for many decades now for the purpose of creating crowns, denture frameworks, onlays, inlays, and implants. Thanks to modern technology, dentists are now able to digitally collect details of their patients’ teeth via a scanner and create impressions from this.
Jewelry – lost wax casting has been used to make fine ornaments jewelry for thousands of years. However, creating the patterns for jewelry that is very intricate is a complicated process when done by hand. However, thanks to the onset of 3D printing and other new developments, it has made the manufacturing of detailed pieces of jewelry that bit easier.