Cast Vs. Forged. Which One’s Better?

Regardless of the kind of metal component you might be looking to build, you must know that the majority of experts suggest that forged parts perform better than cast parts, especially in the long run. While cast parts are useful and a cost-efficient alternative for several applications, many scenarios demand forged parts for better strength and reliability. 
Like every other material, metals are porous in their raw form. Parts manufactured by the casting method retain a lot of these pores or voids in the final material or product. 
It’s hard to achieve a proper grain structure through casting. If you zoom in using a microscope, you will find the material's surface looks like a sponge.
Certain applications require parts made of stronger materials for better function and durability. Essentially, it might be the same material, but the way it’s processed and put together can significantly affect the result. Take the example of a gun assembly. Guns are pieces of equipment that work under high stress, and users expect maximum reliability. And that’s why it requires a fail-proof base material.  
In this post, we will talk about how forged vs. cast parts work for gun assembly that requires high-precision components to work safely and efficiently.
Cast Parts
Let’s assume a scenario where you have access to the perfect mold and an efficient casting process. The quality of a casting process can be determined by various factors. Generally, a good casting cools off evenly, starting from the outside. One side does not cool faster than the other. Also, the viscosity of the metal poured will be near perfect. 
However, even in these perfect scenarios, you will likely get too many voids in your product. 
As we mentioned before, the cooling phase of the casting process starts outside and works its way towards the core of the cast workpiece. The heat initially dissipates from the exteriors. This leads to the formation of dendrites, a pattern similar to snowflakes or Christmas trees. 
In short, the grains formed during the cooling phase will look haphazard instead of forming an organized pattern. Again, a zoomed view will reveal a porous surface with holes of random shapes and sizes. While some of those will be coarse, others will be fine in nature, like the cross-section of a cut loaf of bread. This indicates a lack of strength and durability. 
So, cast parts will contain voids and irregularities no matter how perfect the casting process is. However, it’s still widely used for several applications where cost efficiency is prioritized. But, for specialized applications like gun parts, using cast parts might not be the best decision. 
Roll Forged Billet
So, the goal here is to build something with a good grain structure. Forging is one of the best ways to achieve that. Here, we will discuss how roll forged billet works and its result. To start with, you will need the liquid steel inside the billet. 
Unlike the traditional method, where you pour the molten metal into the casting, you will have to cool the liquid steel slightly and slide it down through a chute into a rectangular tube. It will hit the rollers as it travels downwards, also called a hot roll. The hot roll will squeeze that metal directly through it, form the grain structure, and eliminate the majority of the voids. 
Conclusion
If you’re looking to build something as simple as a figurine or something that doesn’t work under high stress, it’s better to opt for casting as it’s a cost-effective option with a lot of detail.
However, you might need to think of other options for precision work where strength and resilience are priorities. Again, several such parts are machined and milled down. But we recommend that you go for forged parts to achieve a great grain structure. Manufacturers known for their precision quality choose nothing less, hence the higher price.

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