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Thread: What's Up With Die Cast???

  1. #1

    Default What's Up With Die Cast???

    I've seen several Nitecore models advertise die-cast construction... how is this different than traditional aluminum lights?

    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Or is it ultimately just cheaper for large manufacturers?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Just another method. We can machine aluminum tubes, we can metal-injection mold to make the blanks. Die cast reduces the number of cutting tool bits you go through, but has a much higher startup cost than machining tube blanks.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_casting
    Die casting is a metal casting process that is characterized by forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mold cavity. The mold cavity is created using two hardened tool steel dies which have been machined into shape and work similarly to an injection mold during the process. Most die castings are made from non-ferrous metals, specifically zinc, copper, aluminium, magnesium, lead, pewter and tin based alloys. Depending on the type of metal being cast, a hot- or cold-chamber machine is used.

    The casting equipment and the metal dies represent large capital costs and this tends to limit the process to high volume production. Manufacture of parts using die casting is relatively simple, involving only four main steps, which keeps the incremental cost per item low. It is especially suited for a large quantity of small to medium-sized castings, which is why die casting produces more castings than any other casting process.[1] Die castings are characterized by a very good surface finish (by casting standards) and dimensional consistency.
    I don't feel that die-cast is a reason to buy a light. It's a cost-savings measure a high volume maker can leverage.

    A small-house maker would be more likely to machine blank tubes and/or round stock... or perhaps utilize sand casting, which has some of the lowest startup costs but is not limited to one pattern. Each sand cast can be a one-off.

    Besides, sand cast does not require a 4000 ton press.
    http://www.paceind.com/die-casting-1...ocess-overview
    Die casting machines are typically rated in clamping tons equal to the amount of pressure they can exert on the die. Machine sizes range from 400 tons to 4000 tons. Regardless of their size, the only fundamental difference in die casting machines is the method used to inject molten metal into a die. The two methods are hot chamber or cold chamber. A complete die casting cycle can vary from less than one second for small components weighing less than an ounce, to two-to-three minutes for a casting of several pounds, making die casting the fastest technique available for producing precise non-ferrous metal parts.
    Last edited by more_vampires; 10-27-2015 at 11:26 AM.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    It's different because you've less threads and possible 'weak' points. On the other hand, if manufacturers make the bodies thick enough with decent threads, there shouldn't be any problem. It's possibly also cheaper because you don't have to mill the threads at the head-end.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Is it better or worse for heat dissipation? Or same?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    This is the key question, seems like.

    Is the type of cast aluminum utilized, good at transferring heat?

    Quote Originally Posted by holygeez03 View Post
    Is it better or worse for heat dissipation? Or same?

  6. #6

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    I like my EC4S. I don't particularly care to see any more lights with this die cast, though. It feels a bit cheap and reminds me of Bakelite or something like that. It does seem to move the heat well after running on turbo for a few minutes.
    GOOD TINT!

  7. #7

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Quote Originally Posted by holygeez03 View Post
    Is it better or worse for heat dissipation? Or same?
    Good question. Machined stuff tends to be pretty smooth, though fins could be machined. The idea is to increase surface area for heat dissipation.

    Die cast COULD be better if the resulting item were surface textured, possibly more so than a typical machining job can do. An extremely rough surface can have up to double the area for dissipation, IIRC. This is where sand casting really shines. Die cast is more like a rapid-fire machinegun spitting out parts willy-nilly.

    Roughly speaking, Sand cast > Die cast > Machined, as far as potential for good heat dissipation.

    (lol, "roughly speaking" )

  8. #8

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Die casting is lighter, better at heat dissipation if unibody-like construction, cheaper to manufacture thus yields cheaper lights. The one big disadvantage is that you can't use normal anodizing on it, so surface treatment won't be as durable.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    So what is the finish on the Nitecore die-cast models? Some sort of powder-coat or paint?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Quote Originally Posted by holygeez03 View Post
    So what is the finish on the Nitecore die-cast models? Some sort of powder-coat or paint?

    Stove varnish
    Prince plays George Harrison's masterpiece While My Guitar Gently Weeps. R.I.P.
    Great vocals & guitar by LeAnn Rimes & Joss Stone as they cover Gershwin's Summertime.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    I have never heard the term "stove varnish"... is it a heat cured enamel? Moly resin?

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* KeepingItLight's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Beats me! I thought Google might know, but a cursory search led only to generic explanations of varnish. See the entry at Wikipedia, for instance.

    Resin seems a likely component.
    Prince plays George Harrison's masterpiece While My Guitar Gently Weeps. R.I.P.
    Great vocals & guitar by LeAnn Rimes & Joss Stone as they cover Gershwin's Summertime.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What's Up With Die Cast???

    Interesting. I wasn't aware anyone was die casting but then I wasn't paying much attention either. If they really wanted an anodized finish on a die cast part they could use AlMag535 instead of the usual aluminum Al360. There's less silicon in the alloy so the anodizing process yields more uniform results. Super light weight too.

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