Probably the earliest most automated and most rapid of mold and core making processes was the heat-curing technique known as the Shell Molding process. Resin-bounded silica sand is placed onto a heated pattern for a predetermined time. Ejector pins enable the mold to be released from the pattern and the entire cycle is completed in seconds depending upon the shell thickness desired. The two halves of the mold, suitably cored, are glued and clamped together prior to the pouring of the metal. Shell molds may be stored for long periods if desired. Because of pattern cost this method is best suited to volume production. Designers should seek the advice of the foundry to ensure that all the benefits of the process are achieved.

  • Advantages

Shell Molding molds may be stored for extended periods of time. Good casting detail and dimensional accuracy. Mold is light in weight.

  • Disadvantages

High pattern cost, high pattern wear (sometimes), high energy cost, higher material cost compared to green sand molding.

Chemically Bonded Molding
Shell Molding
Typical dimensional tolerances, inches ± .005″
± .015″
Relative cost in quantity  
Medium High
Relative cost for small number  
Medium High
Permissible weight
of casting
Ounces to 250 lbs.
Thinnest section castable, inches  
Relative surface finish  
Relative ease of casting complex design  
Relative ease of changing design in production  
Range of alloys that can be cast Unlimited

Parting Line Influence
When Parting lines are considered, very close tolerances are difficult to obtain. A parting line absorbs fractions of inches per inch. A foundry is doing well to hold a parting line to 0.015 inch. Additional measurement is added to the casting tolerance.