top of page
  • Writer's pictureLocke-Brothers

Gary Oliver Talks High Quality Investment Cast Parts with Short Lead Times

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Are you looking for a great way to eliminate costly secondary machining, and possibly eliminating the need for heat treating?

Not only does this save money, but it also shortens the manufacturing lead time, and frees up capacity to run other parts.

Thats a Win-Win-Win!

In this video, Gary Oliver - the Vice President of Sales over at Shelmet Precision Casting, explains some of the outstanding benefits that Investment Castings offer. Enjoy!


I'm Gary from Shelmet Precision Casting, and we are your Investment Casting specialists.

People think that Investment Casting is expensive; tooling is expensive; in all reality, they're not. There is so much value added into it and what happens is in the long run the part is less costly machine it from Bar Stock.

Always? No. But a high percentage of the time.

If not going to make it then we suggest to the customer a different way to make the part in a different process which is more economical.

Any type of casting will have some type of porosity. Typically, an Investment Casting has "pinhole". If it's larger than that, then the part isn't gated properly for the design and also the alloy. Ours ( Shelmet's) have very, very little porosity.

That's why so many of our parts, especially for medical are X Rayed, penetration tested, and we send that to an outside third party source, so if there was any bias and someone might consider it, and they typically pass with flying colors.

We pour over 100 different alloys, understandably some much more than others. However, some alloys, for example leaded items, we stay away from environmentally.

Are there replacements for that? Yes, there are. And we can give them the suggestions we can give them the data sheets on the different alloys, but then they have to make the determination if they want to go that route.

Now, sometimes the customer isn't sure about it. Well then we're gonna do some beta testing. So if they have a tool or they don't, we can create printed waxes off the machine and cast different alloys and they can try them and decide on which one they liked the best.

Typically a tolerance on an Investment Casting is plus or minus 5 thousandths, up to about a total of about plus or minus 25. It rarely gets more than that. However, because you might have a plus or minus five, it doesn't mean the tolerance is a one part is going to be plus 5 thousandths. And the same part that's cast at the same time it's not gonna be negative 5 thousandths. They'll be within one or two thousandths. So it's so easy to adjust for the needs of the part, especially when most of these mate with other parts.

Here's a great example of an aluminum casting:

Gary holding up an aluminum part - a great example of an aluminum investment casting.

A number of years we spent an awful lot of money for electric furnaces for aluminum. Reason why we did it is the demands of the on the medical industry. Those have to be X rayed; penetration tested - very very tight standards because of the equipment it fantastically, every single time. There aren't any issues. If they machine this thing from bar stock alone, or from plate or whatever. It's...10, 20, 50 times more expensive than it would be in Investment Casting.

This is an indexer for oil. For skid steers, that type of thing.

Originally what they did was we made these parts and then they would press them in inside here (the smaller piece pushed into the center of the larger one). Eventually they asked us "could we cast this all as one?" and we did. We casted this whole thing. All the pockets and that type of thing, and they did skin cuts on the top and the sides and ran it through.


This part here (below), when the company came to us back in 2004, we were the only house that said it could be made. We said we'd just change a few things and we can make it. This is an agricultural part; this will increase your corn yield per acre by 24 bushels an acre.

But, the way that the original design was you couldn't cast it. So we made some suggestions. and it turned out it put this company on the map. Before that they were they weren't even around.

We were ISO certified in 2015. However, we're not design certified. We do make suggestions on alloy or adjusting changes to make it more friendly to investment casting so the success will be fantastic.

If customers come to us and bring a print, if it doesn't belong in investment casting, even though we can make it, you suggest the processes to go. We know processes. And years later, they never forget us, and they always come back because we helped them once and we'll help them again, even if we don't get the work.


bottom of page