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The following table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of the different classes of pattern equipment used by metal casters.

Pattern TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Wood LooseLow cost to produce. Use to produce plastic patterns. Easily modified.Not suitable for production batches unless converted into plastic before becoming worn. Tend to become inaccurate and to produce poor surface finish.
HardwoodInexpensive for small-batch production. Can be used as masters for plastic patterns. Fairly easily modified but expensive if multiple impressions involved.Fair wearing properties. With care, will remain reasonably accurate over fairly long periods. Not suitable for high-volume production.
PlasticInexpensive to produce. Urethane technology provides good wearing properties and accuracy. Easily modified depending upon the materials used. Suitable for high-volume production patterns with the same dimensional tolerances as metal patterns.Urethane technology has reduced many of the disadvantages of early plastic pattern materials.
MetalExcellent wearing properties. High standard of accuracy and stability. Suitable for high-volume production and shell molding. CAD/CAM improvements are greatly reducing cost and lead time requirements.Costly. Difficult to modify. Equipment is less adaptable for movement from one foundry to another.