Frequently Asked Questions
Why Permanent Mold?
How long does Permanent Mold tooling last?
Permanent Mold tooling can be expected to last 10,000 cycles, but often lasts 80,000 cycles or more.
What affects tooling longevity?
The part density, complexity, configuration, and cosmetic requirements can all affect the longevity. Ask us about your specific project and we'll provide as much information as we can.
What surface finish can be expected?
RMS (Root Means Square) is a grading system by which the lower the number, the smoother the finish. Typical As-cast surface finishes for permanent mold castings are in the 200-420 RMS range. However, with LA Aluminum's special mold preparation techniques and proprietary processes, we regularly achieve castings in the 150-250 RMS range. View RMS surface finish scale.
What is considered the minimum annual order quantity?
Typical minimum annual usage is 500+ for large parts, and 2,000 for smaller parts.
What is LA Aluminum's maximum casting weight capability?
We have the ability to cast parts weighing just ounces up to 60lbs or approximately 40"x40"x20".
How much extra material should be added for machining?
We suggest allowing between .030" and .060" for castings up to 10". Larger parts may require .125" or more.
What is draft and how much is needed?
Draft is a small angle added to the parting line that allows the removal of the part from the tooling. Permanent mold generally requires two to three degrees draft minimum. To facilitate production and enhance tool life, please figure 5 degrees or more.
What is the minimum wall thickness?
Minimum wall thickness varies by the size of the area or the part. Your average piece will have a minimum thickness of .125", though it can be as low as .090" for small areas, or as thick as .250" on very large parts.
What types of finishes are available?
Aside from permanent mold casting and machining, we also offer anodize, chromate conversion, powder coat, sand or bead blast, and bright dip. In addition, we also offer assembly, hardness testing, pressure testing, impregnation, heat treat certification and material certifications. Learn more here.
How much of the process is performed in-house?
We consider ourselves a one-stop shop for casting needs. At LA Aluminum we perform mold design, tooling, casting, testing, powder coat, assembly, and more! Check out our capabilities on the About Us page.