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Articles > Net Shape Castings

When industry refers to the term near net shape it describes a process to replicate a component having very close to the final (net) shape and design as ordered. Near net shape is an industry specific term which refers to specialized production technology.

One near net shape technology known as metal injection molding (MIM) uses a fine metal powder that is injected into a mold, as the term implies, using a polymer or other binder. Then this binder is removed and the power is solidified into its net shape through sintering which is a heat and pressure process.

Other near net shape technologies include CHIP where a ceramic mold is filled with powder and held under high pressure to sinter the metal particles. Ceramic is removed to yield the net shape part.

Gel casting, isothermal forging, die casting, sand casting, lost foam casting and solid mold casting are useful in making near net shape components.

Ti Squared Technologies uses a precise manufacturing process called investment casting which is one of many near net shape methods. In this process, a wax pattern is made by injecting molten wax into a reusable aluminum mold. The wax pattern is coated with ceramic to form a shell around the wax. The wax is removed and the resulting ceramic mold is filled with molten metal to make an exact replica of the wax pattern. Any shape that can be injection molded can be converted to a finished metal.

Advances in near net shape technology utilized by Ti Squared Technologies includes rapid prototyping (RP) where a computer model made using standard CAD software, is converted to a wax pattern, and investment cast to make an exact replica of the computer model before being provided to the designer within a few days for evaluation and testing prior to full scale production.