Of all metal fabrication methods, die casting represents the shortest distance between molten metal and finished part. For sound economic and functional reasons, die casting outperforms stamping, sand casting, forging and screw-machine production in many applications.
Miniature and sub-miniature die casting is a precision fabricating process offering extremely tight tolerances and cost-effective production. Miniature Casting Corp. (MCC), using four-slide die casting machines, produces complex components under 1.5 inches in any direction, with virtually no minimum-size restrictions.
Just as die casting offers advantages over other manufacturing processes, zinc provides advantages over other die casting alloys. Zinc die casting alloys are stronger, tougher and more ductile than die castings in aluminum or magnesium. Zinc alloys can be used to die cast extremely small, complex shapes. They can be cast smoother, easier, more accurately, and at lower cost. Zinc die castings can be readily painted and more easily plated than aluminum or magnesium alloys. Zinc’s low melting point prolongs die life, even into the millions of parts.
Miniature zinc die casting provides component designers and users the following benefits:
- low component cost
- tight dimensional tolerances
- fast production cycle times
- thin wall sections
- high mechanical properties
- good physical properties
- ability to design intricate configurations
- excellent surface quality and finishing characteristics
The Casting Process
Zinc casting alloys enable the product engineer and designer to produce components using a wide range of casting processes and to supply quantities ranging from one to millions per year. In fact, zinc alloys surpass all other ferrous and nonferrous alloys in casting-process flexibility.
Zinc die castings can be prototyped using several techniques, depending on specific properties of interest. One prototyping method is to machine the shape from a solid piece of zinc alloy. This method is especially useful when a limited number of parts with relatively simple features are required. It should be noted that mechanical properties of machined zinc components will be inferior to those of a like shape die casted.