The pros and cons of die casting Vs 3D printing

Views: 26     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-06-24      Origin: Site

The pros and cons of die casting Vs 3D printing

Economic aspect:

For aluminum alloy die casting,  usually you need invest a lot on the die firstly. Then later you can save a lot cost on the parts made by the die. For example, you need to make an aluminum middle sized die casting cover (around 800g), you may need to invest 4K USD on the die casting tooling.  But later in mass production stage, the cost /pcs maybe be around 3-5USD. However, if you use 3D printing , although there is no cost for tooling. The unit price  will be around 100-300USD. For sure if the structure has more complicated structure like ribs or slots, the cost will be more accordingly.

Aluminum alloy die casting part

Aluminum alloy die casting part

Aluminim die casting part ADC 12

Aluminim die casting part made by raw material ADC 12

Material and finish aspect:

Pure Aluminum like 6060 or 6061 are mostly used in 3D printing. The process is like CNC machining on the aluminum block after your programming on the machine. Alloy like castING aluminum, casting zinc are not used on 3D printing since the material is very hard and not easy for machining. 3D printing material like 6061 or 6063 can be anodizing to any color easily.

CNC machining Aluminum 6061

CNC machining part made by Aluminum 6061

Die cast aluminum heat sink AL6063

Die cast aluminum heat sink AL6063

For die casting, we mainly use alloy metal like, aluminum alloy (ADC12, A380) , zinc alloy ( ZA-3 , ZA-4) which have good flow ability during casting process. Aluminum 6063 and 6061 can not be used on aluminum die casting due to bad flow ability. Further more, the cast aluminum can not be well anodized.

Zinc alloy die casting part ZA-3

Zinc alloy die casting part made by ZA-3

Function aspect:

Die casting part is usually made from metal like aluminum alloy or zinc ally which have very strong structure. 

While for 3D printing, you can use plastics or pure aluminum which are usually soft of structure than alloy metal.

When do you need to choose the die casting or 3D printing on your part

Firstly, 3D printing is mostly used as a prototyping to test the design of the project at the beginning. If you are an engineer in an electronic company. You may design a set of things including pcb, housing ,gasket, bracket. Etc.. take the housing as an example. The housing may be a body to other part. If you have a real part on your hand, it may help you to better handle the whole assembly design and test. So you may need a 3D printing part of the housing now.

Aluminim die casting part A380

Aluminim die casting part made by A380

Also if the volume of one part is not big like 100-200pcs, 3D printing may be the first option.

However, if the volume is very big and you need copies of the part. There is no question that die casting is the first option. Usually the life time of one die is around 80K shots. So the mold invest will be worthy.


As we know , due to draft angel and radius design issue when you convert a 3d printing part to a die casting part, so it is better to use drawing of die casting part for 3D printing. So that you can keep the same on 3d printing part and die casting part.

CNC machining Aluminum 6060

CNC machining part made by Aluminum 6060

If you are looking for a reliable company who can manage your die casting needs, pls free free to contact us and we will serve you with our profession and experience.

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