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2013 CASTING COMPETITION:


O’FALLON CASTING WINS CASTING OF THE YEAR


The elegant investment casting incorporates dozens of as-cast features and serves as a stunning example of what is possible in design.


SHANNON WETZEL, SENIOR EDITOR B


ruce Willson, sales manager for O’Fallon Casting, O’Fallon, Mo., spends a lot of his time teaching current and potential customers how to design for the investment casting process. In the case of an electronics housing for the defense industry, the cus- tomer conducted a casting design lesson of its own. “I have been in the industry for close to 35 years and it is one of the fi nest designs I have ever seen,”


Willson said. “Every element of that casting serves some function and serves as a wonderful example for the capabilities of the investment casting process.” The customer, who wished to remain anonymous due to the confidentiality of the part and application, is well versed in the art of casting design, and that experience culminated in the 2.2-lb. aluminum casting—the winning design in the 2013 AFS/Metal Casting Design & Purchasing Casting Competition. “Just look at it and say, ‘Wow,’” said one of this year’s casting competition


judges. “The fins, the holes, the need for dimensional stability—electron- ics housings will continue to demand more features as more electronics are jammed into smaller spaces.” T e ultimate goal of the electronics housing, which measures 7.5 x 7.5 x 10 in., was to make it rigid and strong while also as light as possible. T e casting is


20 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | May/Jun 2013


part of a portable device an individual would have to carry. “T e selection of the manufacturing method began with, ‘How can we make this struc- ture both lightweight and rigid?’” Willson said. Because investment casting is a near-net-shape casting process, it pro- vides a wide range of freedom of de- sign. For example, draft and drawback (a part of a sand mold drawn back to clear overhanging portions of the pat- tern) are not necessary design consid- erations. For the electronics hous- ing, investment casting allowed the customer to cast undercuts throughout the part to sculpt out material. Holes in the upper structure serve to remove excess metal and lighten the piece. “T ey were looking for grams of


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