Die Casting Design

Die Casting Design

Die casting is one of the fastest and most cost-effective methods for producing a wide range of components. However, to achieve maximum benefits from this process, it is critical that designers collaborate with the die caster at an early stage of the product design and development. Consulting with the die caster during the design phase will help resolve issues affecting tooling and production, while identifying the various trade-offs that could affect overall costs.

For instance, parts having external undercuts or projections on sidewalls often require dies with slides. Slides increase the cost of the tooling, but may result in reduced metal use, uniform casting wall thickness or other advantages. These savings may offset the cost of tooling, depending upon the production quantities, providing overall economies.

Many sources are available for information on die casting design, including textbooks, technical papers, trade journals and professional associations. While this section is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of all the factors involving die casting design, it will highlight some of the primary considerations. Additional sources of information are listed in the "Resources" section of this brochure.

Alloy Properties One of the first steps in designing a die cast component is choosing the proper alloy. Typical properties for the most commonly used alloys are shown on the linked charts.

Comparing Materials

The cost of materials is another important design consideration. Accurate comparisons require looking beyond the cost per pound or cost per cubic inch to fully analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each competing process. For instance, the relatively greater strength of metals generally allows thinner walls and sections and consequently requires fewer cubic inches of material than plastics for a given application.

Effective Design Load example illustrations to help show how design and engineering can affect final production.

Die casting is a cost-effective method to mass-produce lightweight metallic parts for household and industrial use.

Die casting is a metal forming method to manufacture metallic components by injecting molten metal alloys into a mold, or "die" at high pressure. Die casting is used to rapidly create metallic parts that require little post-manufacturing machining.

Die cast parts are generally fabricated from metallic alloys that have relatively low melting point. This protects the die from warping or cracking due to excess heat. Typical die-casting alloys include aluminum, zinc, magnesium, and copper.

The die itself is fabricated from high-strength steel, so it can withstand the heat of the molten metal and can be used for a large number of castings. Some dies can be used for hundreds of thousands of casts. A die generally consists of two halves that are clamped together. Additional parts can be included in the die, such as pins or sliders, to create more complex parts.