Sand casting - key terms

Sand casting

As you’ll have seen from our regular blogs, we use a wide array of terminology in sand casting.

In this blog, we provide definitions of sand casting acronyms, equipment and materials. These definitions are arranged into alphabetical order for easy reference and we have provided links, where appropriate, to relevant blogs for further reading.

Binder – a bonding agent is added to the sand to add strength.

Chill – this metal insert is used in moulds to provide local chilling and equalise solidification across the casting.

Cope – the top half of a mould.

Core – This sand insert is placed in the mould cavity. It is used to create internal features or shapes that cannot be made by the mould pattern. See Core making.

Drag – the bottom half of a mould.

Filter – this is part of the running system. The molten metal flow is regulated by the filter which also removes any impurities– thereby reducing the likelihood of any casting defects.

Ladle – this is used to transfer the molten metal from the furnace to the mould.

Mould – Made from sand, the mould contains the cavity into which the molten metal is poured to create the casting. It consists of a top (a cope) and a bottom half (drag).

Pattern – Made out of resin, the pattern is not an exact geometrical copy of the finished casting. It is made slightly larger than the finished product to allow for metal contraction during the solidification process. See Pattern manufacture.

Risers – The risers, which form part of the running system compensate for shrinkage as the molten metal solidifiesSee Shrinkage.

Running (or gating) system – this series of connected channels conveys the molten metal to the mould cavity. The running system allows foundry staff to control liquid flow, turbulence, the cooling rate and shrinkage.

Sand – this widely available material is used in around 70% of metal casting processes. It is recycled and reused at Haworth Castings – providing a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach.

Sprue – this is part of the running system through which the molten metal enters the mould.

If you would like to find out more about our sand casting capabilities, please email us today at: or call +44 (0)1794 512685.