Have you ever tried staring at your laptop long enough to appreciate the fine details on its metal casing? No? Well I guess by now you would have looked. In case you are wondering how those details are done, the most popular answer is diecastings which refers to a process by which molten metals are placed into steel molds to produce engineered metal products. These engineered metal products are actually everywhere.
Think: computer metal casings, car engine, heat sinks, that toy train, the treadmill, your faucet.
The process is widely used today because of the high demand for metal products that require intricate details to function. Using different sorts of shapes, sizes as well as thickness, castings are produced in undeniably durable and precise modes.
The diecastings process, technically, happens by injecting molten metal under high pressure into metal molds called dies. There are two methods of die casting, these are hot chamber and cold chamber. The two methods differ only by the process of injecting the molten metal into a die. The hot chamber method is used for low melting point alloys. The molten metal is injected through a goose neck from a furnace. A plunger forces the molten metal into the mold and forces the molten metal to take the shape of the mold. The cold chamber, on the other hand is used for alloys with high melting points. The molten metal is poured into a “cold chamber” by a ladle and a plunger seals the cold chamber port and oblige the molten metal to take the shape of the mold using high pressure.
Imagine the waffle maker, think of the waffle mix as the molten metal and the waffle maker, with all that crisscross details, as the die casting machine. The waffle maker uses the cold chamber method as the waffle mix is poured into the chamber using a ladle. That is basically the same molding process except that in die casting, details are more intricate and precise.
The process has definitely plenty of advantages. The very obvious is the dimensional accuracy and stability of its products. Die casting machines can produce very precise details with very little machining or process required. These machines can produce by bulk with long service life (very economical for mass production). Another advantage is the broad range of shapes and designs with accompanying durability. Now look at your laptop, or your computer, or your phone, that tiny hole above your screen just enough for the web camera to peek at, now you know it is not carved manually by someone. It is a product of precision from the diecastings process.