Discovery of metal was one of the milestones of human civilization. Metal was strong, malleable and ductile, and weapons and tools could be made out of it. It made man more efficient and more powerful. The first use of metal was probably in making a spear-head. It was the first instance of casting and molding.
Casting is a process by which a material is introduced into a mold while it is liquid, allowed to solidify in the shape inside the mold, and then removed producing a fabricated object, part, or casing. Molding is just the converse part of the process. A mold is the outer casing, which allows a cast to be set in. Therefore, casting and molding are part of the same process. Casting is often used for creating one or more copies of an original piece of sculptural (three-dimensional) artwork. It is also used extensively in the automobile manufacture industry, such as the casting of engine blocks or cylinder heads, or vacuum-forming of plastics and in the lost core process. In fact a cast is used to produce the required shape whenever it is not viable or possible to arrive at the same structure through addition of smaller parts, or through working on sheet metal. That opens up a long catalog of things which are actually cast – from household tools, to industrial parts and artistic objects. Cast iron artifacts are, of course, made of iron casts.
Machining is the process whereby metal, wood or even plastic parts are converted into required shape by working them on a lathe, a milling machine or a drill. Machining is part of the manufacture of almost all metal products. Most machining operations can be divided into those that remove metal from an item, and those that form metal in an item. Thus, various objects are made by cutting metal out through drilling, scraping or some other action. Sometimes a press is used to flatten a piece of metal.
This section is your getaway to many casting, molding and machining services, and other related resources.