The casting of iron began around 500 BCE in China during the Zhou Dynasty. The Chinese developed blast furnaces that enabled them to produce cast iron, which they used to create various items such as weapons, agricultural tools, and cooking pots. The production of cast iron later spread to various parts of the world, including Europe and India. However, widespread production of cast iron in Europe didn't begin until the Middle Ages, around the 11th to 12th century.
Iron is cast by melting it at high temperatures and pouring it into a mold that has the desired shape. The iron casting process typically uses pig iron or recycled iron scraps as raw materials. Here are the general steps involved in the iron casting process:
1. Choose a mold material: Molds can be made of various materials, including sand, clay, or permanent materials like metal. Sand molding, also known as sand casting, is the most common method used for iron casting.
2. Create the mold: A pattern, often made of wood, metal, or polystyrene, is crafted to represent the desired shape of the final iron object. The pattern is placed into a mold container and packed with the chosen mold material. The pattern is then removed, leaving a cavity in the mold that matches the desired object shape.
3. Core creation (if needed): In some cases, complex hollow shapes require the use of a core. The core is a shaped piece that is inserted into the mold cavity to create hollow sections in the final cast object.
4. Melting the iron: The raw iron materials are heated in a furnace until they reach their melting point, which is around 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (1,150 degrees Celsius) for cast iron.
5. Pouring the molten iron: Once the iron is fully melted, it's carefully poured into the mold's cavity, filling the shaped space.
6. Cooling and solidification: The molten iron cools and solidifies within the mold, taking on its shape.
7. Removing the casting: Once the iron has completely cooled and solidified, the solid iron casting is removed.
8. Clean up and finishing: Excess material or metal flash is removed from the casting, and it may undergo further procedures such as grinding, sandblasting, or polishing to achieve the desired surface finish.
The iron casting process can produce a variety of objects and parts, both decorative and functional, for use in industries such as automotive, construction, and manufacturing.
The cost these days are very high, especially in America. The energy (electricity) to melt the iron is restrictive. Creating one quality mold can cost in the five digits. We focus on quality and not quantity at Drake Casting.