Every object produced through investment casting is turned out of a mould. The first task is to produce a master die, which is used to create the mould itself. The die can be constructed using a variety of materials, including clay, rubber and plastic. It is then covered in several layers of wax until it is the same thickness as the object it will be used to create.
The die is dipped into slurry to give it a prime coat, after which it undergoes a process of stuccoing. This applies more durable layers of ceramic, which form the finished walls of the die, from which the finished object will be produced. After each ceramic layer has been added, it needs to be dried. Traditional fabricators often require 24 hours or more to complete this step, so it can easily take a week to create a single tool. However, the Cyclone system sold by Laser Lines incorporates a high-speed drying chamber, which dramatically accelerates the process and can completely finish a shell in less than four hours.
When the ceramic has dried, the model is placed in an oven to melt the wax, which is collected for re-use. The die is then placed in a container, packed out with sand, and filled with liquid metal. Once the metal cools and hardens, the ceramic shell can be removed to leave the finished part behind.