Foundry 101: Demystifying Sandcasting Engineering

“Foundry 101,” our new blog series, will provide an overview of the entire sandcasting process, from engineering to pattern to finished, machined product. This article launches the series and will focus on Stage One: Sandcasting Engineering. From material selection to prototype development and casting simulation, each stage of the engineering process requires careful consideration and expertise.

Understanding sandcasting – Sandcasting is a versatile and cost-effective method for producing metal components, making it widely used in foundry operations. The process involves creating a sand mold from a traditional wood or polyurethane pattern or by milling it robotically. Then, molten metal is poured into the mold to form the desired component. The process starts with an idea, and flows through a variety of engineering processes prior to moving to the next phase.

Design – Typically, engineers use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to create an intricate and precise 2D or 3D digital design of their component. This allows them to visualize, modify, test and optimize the design digitally prior to investing in physical patterns and/or molds.

When engineers need to recreate an old or obsolete part, they can use modern scanning technology to create and fine tune a digital design from the existing component.

Materials selection – The selection of metal alloys is essential for achieving desired mechanical properties and performance in cast components. Factors such as strength, corrosion resistance, and thermal conductivity influence material selection decisions in foundry processes.

MAGMA simulation – Foundry engineers utilize simulation software such as MAGMA to simulate the flow of molten metal, solidification behavior, and potential defects prior to production. MAGMA helps improve casting quality and reduce production costs, because adjustments and improvements can be finessed virtually prior to production.

Assessing castability – Castability refers to the ease with which a metal alloy can be cast into a specific shape without defects. Foundry engineers evaluate factors such as fluidity, shrinkage, and moldability to assess the castability of a material for a given application.

Prototypes – Prototyping allows engineers to validate designs and assess manufacturability before full-scale production. Rapid prototyping technologies, such as 3D printing, enable the quick and cost-effective fabrication of prototypes for testing functionality and performance prior to moving to final production.

Sandcasting engineering is foundational to successful casting manufacturing. By leveraging advanced tools such as MAGMA simulation, prototyping and scanning, as well as researching and selecting appropriate materials, foundry professionals can achieve high-quality castings with minimal defects.

With a comprehensive understanding of sandcasting fundamentals and a commitment to continuous improvement, we at Badger Alloys continue to meet the evolving demands of modern manufacturing. Our engineers are available to work with each customer to analyze which casting method and materials will result in the best quality, highest value casting. To learn more, contact Brad Moore, Director of Sales Engineering, at or 414/258-8200.