A “cast oversized and machined” mold for a floating dock.
Both cast-to-size (CTS) and cast oversized and machined (MAO – machine all over) tooling require a foundry pattern and an aluminum casting. The difference being, as the description implies, one is literally cast to size (a net shape), while the other is cast with machine stock included (a near net shape) with the intention of machining it to the final dimensions. In a nutshell, the difference between the two is in the overall precision of the tooling.
In a nutshell, the difference between the two is in the overall precision of the tooling.
As manufacturers, we all understand that every process has a manufacturing tolerance, and there may even be several variables within a given process that can affect that tolerance. The casting process is no different and aluminum can typically shrink anywhere from .010″-.013″ per inch.
This means that the final dimension of the CTS mold could technically vary exponentially based on its size alone. On the other hand, the MAO mold would be subject to a tighter overall tolerance as it is not relying on the tolerance of the casting process, but rather the more precise machining process tolerance.
This improved tolerance can have a tremendous impact on parts that are more dimensionally critical, and even more so when you are tasked with creating a series of parts that need to fit together in an assembly. In addition, with the MAO tooling, you will likely see crisper detail and better overall part appearance as surface irregularities are eliminated. Some common part applications for this type of tooling include automotive components, kayaks, shower surrounds, and other consumer goods products.
CTS tooling can be a great option for industrial products, where the size and tolerance variance from the casting process are less critical. Some common part applications for this type of tooling include dunnage trays and pallets, dumpster lids, and porta johns.
To be clear, the end use application does not always dictate which tooling option is best. Several other factors also need to be considered. For instance:
At Tooling Tech Group, we can help you navigate through what may seem like a maze of options and provide solutions to all these questions, getting you one step closer to exceeding your customer’s expectations.
For more information on Tooling Tech Group’s thermoform tooling capability, call 231-400-4884.