Pros And Cons: Aluminum Casting Versus Billet

For those who are interested in having parts created from aluminum, it is important to understand the process. There are typically two types of processing when creating aluminum parts: cast aluminum and billet aluminum. Both have their pros and cons that should be considered.

What Is Aluminum Casting?

When creating an aluminum casting, you first have to create a mold of the part that your are trying to form. You form this mold when the pattern leaves an impression after being pushed into chemically bonded sand. After it is formed, molten aluminum is poured inside, cools, and hardens completely. Remove the casted aluminum from the mold, and you have your new part.

What Is Billet?

Billet entails creating parts using a very different method. A billet is a solid cube of aluminum close in size to the part you wish to make. The parts are created by carving the part from the solid piece through the removal of excess material.

Pros Of Aluminum Casting

One very important benefit to aluminum die casting is it’s cost effectiveness. The process is relatively inexpensive when compared to billets. You can also create parts of virtually any size since there is no limit on how big your mold can be. In addition, you can make parts that are very complicated or unique in shape.

Cons Of Aluminum Casting

The process of casting aluminum can be very laborious for the worker who is making the part. The parts can also sometimes have a rough finish to them, and there is also a higher chance of imperfections or defects in the aluminum. The dimensional accuracy is sometimes reduced when compared to billet.

Pros Of Billet

The cost of billet can be reasonable if the parts are made in smaller quantities, allowing you to produce a quality part. There is a very high level of precision when making parts out of billet and the parts are structurally stronger than those made from aluminum casting. There are also shorter lead times to billet than casting.

Cons Of Billet

The downside to billet is the expense. The more parts that are produced, the higher the price is going to be. Not all part designs can be created from solid billet, especially those that are very unique or intricate. In addition, many parts are not cost effective to machine from billet.

The pros and cons of these two methods should be considered when you want a certain part created. Work closely with an experienced machinist to determine which method would be best for your needs.

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