Die Casting for Promotional Products
Die Casting is a process where a mold is cut with the shape of the product you wish to produce. The mold consists of 2 halves. The one half forms the outside of the part, which you normally see, the show surface. This is called the cavity. The second half forms the inside of the part, the backside of the part. This is called the core. There is a gap between the cavity and the core that creates the part.
The mold can be produced in two different ways.
The first method is that a replicated model of the shape you want to mold is created. This shape is the same form as your finished product. This form is then used as a duplicator to cut metal away from a solid block to create each half of the mold. A separate model must be made for each half. The mold is then created in reverse to the part that is being produced.
The second method is that the mold halves are CNC cut using a CAD model. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and is used on automated machines to follow a pre-defined path to cut a shape. The CAD model can be produced in a few ways. CAD stands for Computer Aided Design.
One way to produce a CAD model is using 3D (3 dimensional) CAD software. A CAD Designer would design a virtual model of your part on the computer.
Another way would be to produce a part in CAD by using an actual sample of an existing part measured using a CMM and importing the data. CMM stands for coordinate measuring machine. These types of machines measure objects in 3D. The information that they generate can then be used in a CAD software program to construct a part.
3D Scanning can also be used for a process called Reverse Engineering. These scanners work with optics or lasers. They scan an actual part and produce an exact virtual replica within computer software. This CAD model can then be used to produce a mold.
Once the part is produced it can be painted, decals applied and assembled with other parts. Die cast parts are very durable. The are generally produced in aluminum or zinc. A big advantage of this method is that if you can think of a shape, you can make it.