Sand Casting vs Die Casting

June 2022 | 10 Minute Read

Two metal casting processes go head-to-head for “Best in Cast”.  Explore the pros, cons, and everything in between for Sand Casting vs Die Casting.

Sand casting Vs Die Casting

Die Casting vs Sand Casting

There are many various ways of metal casting; Die Casting, Investment Casting, Sand Casting, and many more alternatives. 

Die casting and sand casting are both popular manufacturing processes. These two methods involve the use of different materials, which are selected primarily based on their strength and ability to withstand high temperatures.

This article will compare die casting and sand casting, as well as their respective applications in various industries.

advanatges of sand casting

According to “Casting Source Magazine,”  the metal casting industry is expected to grow 7.5% by 2025. 

Difference Between Sand Casting and Die Casting

To select the best casting method, we need to understand casting limitations, process difficulties, and differences between these two casting methods.

 

sand casting

In the right-hand corner, we have the quick- one-two punch knock-out  Sand Casting.

Sand castings are quick and efficient. Fast off the first punch and light on the wallet. This type of metal casting method is best suited for low-volume metal castings because of its fast jab and quick response.

die casting

In the left-hand corner, we have the heavy hitter Die Casting. “Dies” are built from steel or aluminum, which is why Die casting comes with a heavy upfront cost, but benefits high volume manufacturing. The cost can be less for tooling when over the threshold of 1000+ units compared to Sand Casting.

Lets’ Get Ready to Rumble!

Comparing Die casting vs Sand casting can help save companies time and money. Below are a few comparison charts to help you learn more about the differences between sand casting and die casting.

Round One

Die-Cast vs Sand Cast

Lead Time and Cast Time Comparison Chart

 

Die-Cast

Lead Time – Slow

Die casting lead time takes the most time because the cast must be formed from steel or aluminum prior to production. This can take 6 -8 weeks.

Time to Cast

– Fast

About 30 sec – one minute.  Die casting may be slow to draw the first punch, while it waits for its “Die,” but soon will pick up momentum by casting time. Getting metal castings done in about one minute.

 

 

Sand Casting

Lead Time- Fast

For sand casting- 1-2 weeks. Sometimes even less.

Time to Cast

– Fast

1 minute. Sand casting is fast up from and throughout the processes. Getting your products or prototypes done quicker, without the heavy price tag from die casting.

Round One Winner is…

You can see the advantages of sand casting and the advantages of Die casting.  Each has its benefits and limitations when it comes to time.

Sand casting is faster and cheaper upfront, but for overall fairness, it will depend on how many units are required. If we look solely on time and under 1,000 units, this round goes to Sand Castings.

If you have a need for high-volume parts, your company can potentially save more by going with Die Castings. 

Sand Casting

Die Casting vs Sand Casting 

A few other important factors to consider when deciding between sand vs die casting are part size capabilities, surface finishes, and quantities. 

 

Round Two

Cast Parts

Metal cast parts, surface finishes, and quantities.

Die-Cast

Part Size

Die casting can handle small precision and complex parts, but can be limited for larger metal castings

Ideal for medical devices or small, thin-wall parts.

 

 

Production

– Fast

Best suited for high-volume castings. Die casting manufacturing will pay a higher tooling cost upfront, but becomes a more cost-effective choice if you are over the threshold of 1,000 quantities.

 

Surface Finish

Typically delivering a smoother finish than Sand Casting.

 

 

Sand Casting

Part Size

Sand castings offer more design flexibility and weight ranges. From grams to tons, or small precision parts to large items for aviation, automotive, or agriculture.

Complex shapes are achievable and have tight tolerances

Production

– Fast

Sand castings offer the best solutions for low-volume production ( under 1,000 a month). Companies save more money because of lower tooling costs for rapid prototyping and prototype castings.

 

Surface Finish

When comparing Die casting vs Sand Casting surface finish, die castings typically deliver a smoother finish, but not at Precise Cast.

We use a special type of fine-grain sand that creates a smoother finish than the green sand process many other foundries use. It results in a Ra- 120-220 finish

 

To conclude for round 2; Die casting has a little more advantage for its smaller complex parts and smooth finish, however, Sand Casting hits back with larger casting options and comparable casting finishes. 

Round Two Winner is…

Strong tie. Both have benefits and limitations based on the project’s needs. So the only way to call a winner for round 2 is to discuss your needs with a metal casting expert.

 

Sand Casting vs Die Casting Benefits 

The final comparison is going to be Cost and Alloys. Understanding the difference between Sand Casting cost and Die Cast Tooling cost can help companies make a more informed manufacturing decisions. 

Round Three

Sand Casting vs Die Casting Difference

Cost and Alloys

Die-Cast

Cost- High

Die-cast costs are higher because of the “die” that is made.  Die casting comes with a heavy price tag, but if you are looking for high-volume manufacturing it can save money over time.

 

 

 

 

Metal Capabilities

Die casts are best produced with aluminum, zinc, and magnesium alloy combinations. This can be restrictive on the type of alloy for your part.

 

 

Sand Casting

Cost- Low

Sand Casting costs are low because tooling costs are low. You can get parts faster and with similar surface finishes for a much better price.

However, if you are looking for mass quantities ( over 1,000 units) then you may want to look at Die Casting to create a more permanent “die.”

Metal Capabilities

With Sand casting, you can produce parts with almost any alloy or metal. This provides greater combinations and options for metal cast parts.

Round Three Winner is…

As you can see there are many advantages of Sand Casting when it comes down to cost, volume, and alloys.

Sand Casting Vs Die Casting

There are many differences between sand castings and die casting. The winner for “Best in Cast” really comes down to your needs.

The best solution is to talk with a metal expert about your project. This way we can fine-tune the details and find the best metal casting process for your part.

Precise Cast Prototypes and Engineering is an American-based manufacturing company near Denver, Colorado. We focus on Rapid Prototyping and Low-volume manufacturing of metal castings. We also house a fully equipped CNC machine shop.

We specialize in Aluminum, Zinc Magnesium Castings, and CNC Machined Parts.

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Author

Author

Digital Marketing Manager

Marzeyeh is the Digital Marketing Manager at Precise Cast Prototypes and Engineering. She enjoys exciting people about Metal Castings and CNC machining.