There are literally thousands of metal pieces that benefit from the machining of castings. These range from very small items like gears and pivots all the way up to heavy cast iron or steel rotors and shafts that weigh tons. The process is broadly the same for each item, once removed from the mold and allowed to cool, one or more machining operations are applied. These could include turning, which uses a lathe, or milling, where the tool is moved against the work piece, or drilling, where pre-cast holes are cleaned up, widened or otherwise finished. Proper machining of castings is a key part of the manufacturing process.
In order to take full advantage of the casting process, the designer must be certain that enough material flows into the mold to create a complete component, with no gaps, voids or bubbles. This will result in excess material, sometimes called flashing, which must be machined away. Also, many components can be cast in one collective attached group and the machining process is used to separate and clean them up for additional work.
Industrial companies of all sizes do machining of castings work, some as their main line of business. Foundries sometimes do preliminary machining of castings before delivery to the assembly plant, and small job shops are available for short run or special needs jobs. Anyone seeking this type of work is well advised to seek several quotes on machining of castings before committing to one supplier, as rework is generally costly and time consuming.