Billet vs Cast
5 minute read | Dec. 2022| Author: M. Hagaman
Billet vs cast is a common topic of debate among performance enthusiasts. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, one may be better than the other for your specific application.
Differences Between Billet vs Castings
The most significant difference between billet and casting is how they are produced. Billet parts are often made from a single piece of metal or material using a subtractive process such as a CNC machine.
Metal castings are an additive process in which parts are formed by taking molten liquid and pouring it into a mold.
The major difference between Billet vs Cast is cost.
You could pay more for a billet as opposed to a cast because there are more steps involved during the manufacturing process.
What is a Casting?
Casting is the process of using a mold made from various materials such as sand, plaster, wax, or wood. The cavity is then filled with a motel liquid metal to fill the cavity and create the mold.
The most popular casting methods for low-volume castings are No-Bake Sand Castings and Plaster Mold Castings.
Once the casting it’s cooled off it is “broken” out of its mold to reveal the finished product. This process can be applied to most metals including aluminum, zinc, magnesium, or various alloys.
Casting has many benefits, as it is typically a more cost-effective manufacturing process for low-volume or short-run manufacturing.
Casting is an ancient technology that has been used for thousands of years. It was first used by civilizations such as the Chinese and Egyptians who cast bronze (copper-tin alloy) objects as early as the 2nd millennium BC.
What is a Billet?
Billet refers to any solid rod of metal that has been machined from a solid block of material such as aluminum or steel. Billet manufacturing is a subtractive process, as the metal is milled away by a CNC machine to create the part.
Using a CNC machine to produce parts is the most accurate type of manufacturing as it’s a computer-controlled process.
Comparing Billet vs Metal Casting
When comparing billet vs cast, billet products are often seen as more durable and built for longevity in their application.
In the case that you need to cut or modify your billet part, it can easily be done by using a saw, milling machine, or lathe and then using an adhesive to repair or create new hard points.
Billet is easier to modify after it’s been made, as you’re not limited by the size of the die or mold.
The main strength of a billet lies in its ability to be machined into many different shapes and sizes without losing any structural integrity.
Billet vs cast comparison chart
- Billet products are often seen as more durable and built for longevity in their application
- In the case that you need to cut or modify your billet, it can easily be done by using a saw, milling machine, or lathe and then using an adhesive to repair or create new hard points.
- Billet is easier to modify after it’s been made, as you’re not limited by the size of the die or mold.
- The main strength of a billet lies in its ability to be machined into many different shapes and sizes without losing any structural integrity.
- You could pay more for billet as opposed to metal castings because there are more steps involved during the manufacturing process.
- Billets are much heavier than metal casts. They can range from 30-60% heavier, depending on the material and thickness of the piece. This means that they cost more to ship, which makes the price much higher
- Billet has a higher modulus of elasticity but will bend more easily under tension than casting because of its lower yield strength
Metal casting provided its own set of pros and cons when comparing billet vs metal casting. For example, if you are making a turbine blade for an engine and need an undercut feature on one side of the blade, then it is possible with metal casting because there is no risk of damaging your tooling during production.
- Cost with metal castings can be lower then most billet or machined parts.
- Casting allows for more flexibility in design and can create larger complex shapes that billet cannot
- You can make your part with any dimensions you want and even add features that would be impossible to machine.
- The number of parts that be made at once depends on the type of casting process you select. For high-volume manufacturing, machining or Die mold casting may be better.
- Although casting has very high accuracy, billet parts can produce an even higher accuracy because they are CNC’d.
Billet vs Cast. Which Should you Choose?
After reviewing the pros and cons of billet vs metal casting you can see each comes with its own benefits. If you are still not sure it may be time to speak with our metal experts about your project.
Precise Cast is more than just a casting supplier, we work as part of your team to offer full turn-key service- from design guidance and “best practice” suggestions, to post-production testing to meet your specifications. Contact us to get started.