In the past, these concept models have been drawn then modeled in clay. Today, once the design is finalized on paper or the computer, it goes through a process like magnesium castings to give teams a chance to see a three-dimensional, tabletop version which can be touched and moved around.
There are many companies out there, Curto is an example, who utilize aluminum magnesium foundries to create castings. In actuality, they are models made of heated and treated sand. The creation process is so refined that people think it’s the true product because the weldments and hogouts once displayed on older models are no longer visible.
When a casting company has the process down, the sand used is a very fine grain that should be free of visible pores in the finish. This is done through a two-step process that binds the sand with water-free solutions and degasses it via advanced rotary machinery.
All of this sounds expensive for a prototype. However, magnesium casting helps reduce the number of costs which, once approved, can be saved on the manufacturing end. Should the company have an on-site pattern shop, one cost is reduced as the proper dimensions and wall thickness can be measured there, thus minimizing scrap. A smooth casting free of porous entities reduces the weight of the product, which is another cost to subtract. And, because the finish is so fine, to the point it looks like an investment piece, further castings may not be needed.
If you have re-engineered your business in other avenues but not in the creation of machine part casting, take a moment to consider the use of magnesium casting. It may seem expensive at first, but it could save you much more once the piece is produced.