Investment Casting: Freedom in Design with Minimal Draft Angles

Author: Date Published: May 13,2024

Draft Angles are a necessary evil in many casting processes, limiting design freedom and adding complexity to post-casting machining. Investment Casting, however, offers a significant advantage in this regard: the ability to create parts with near-zero draft angles.

Investment Casting

Why Draft Angles are Used in Casting

A draft angle is a slight taper applied to vertical faces of a casting pattern or mold. It allows for easier removal of the solidified cast part without damaging the mold or the casting itself. This becomes crucial in processes like Sand Casting, where the mold itself is packed with sand particles. Adequate draft angles ensure these particles remain in place during pattern removal. Typical draft angles in sand casting are around 1.5 degrees.

Investment Casting: Minimizing Draft Angles

Investment casting takes a different approach. The process involves creating a wax replica of the desired part, coated in a ceramic shell. After the wax is melted out (the "lost wax" process), molten metal is poured into the ceramic shell cavity. Once solidified, the shell is broken away to reveal the final cast part.

This method eliminates the need for draft angles to release the cast part itself. The ceramic shell breaks away easily, regardless of angles. However, there's still the matter of removing the initial wax pattern from its mold.

Draft and Wax Patterns

Investment casting utilizes wax with a high shrinkage rate. This natural shrinkage allows the wax pattern to pull away from the mold walls during solidification, enabling easy removal without draft angles.

Draft Angles

Exceptions: When Draft is Needed

While draft angles are generally not required, there are a few situations where they might be necessary:

Insufficient Wax Shrinkage: In rare cases, the wax shrinkage might be inadequate for smooth pattern removal. The designer can then either reorient the pattern in the mold or introduce minimal draft angles on specific surfaces.

Molding Cores: Cores, used to create internal features like cavities, can be made from either soluble wax or ceramic. Soluble wax cores typically don't require draft due to shrinkage. However, ceramic cores, which remain in the mold and become part of the ceramic shell, might need draft angles on some surfaces for proper release.


Investment casting offers a significant advantage in design freedom by minimizing the need for draft angles. This allows for the creation of parts with complex geometries and sharp corners, reducing the need for additional machining. Understanding the role of draft angles and how investment casting overcomes this limitation is essential for part designers seeking a near-net shape manufacturing process.

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