Engineering Design

US Aluminum Castings has an engineering department with over 60+ years of combined tooling design experience.  By pairing highly experienced foundry designers with recent graduate level engineers,  our design team is able to provide tried and true design methodology backed by cutting edge solidification modeling, CAD analysis, and an A9100D certified tooling design and development process.

We work hard to develop high quality, cost efficient casting tooling and machining fixtures consistent with the needs of our customers.

Our Niche:  Heavy Truck, Aerospace, and Defense Castings.


During our initial quoting of a new project, we look for the follow design criteria:

  • A dimensioned 2D print and 3D model showing casting/machining tolerance requirements.
  • Aluminum casting alloy or required material properties.
  • Anticipated annual production rates.
  • Anticipated order schedules/quantity.
  • Any critical dimensions or special characteristics related to the casting or machined part.
  • Casting Class and Grade
  • Surface finish requirements
  • Allowable draft angles

With this information, our design team will work along with the customer to help determine a suitable casting process and tooling plan.  It is our goal to provide our clients with quality castings delivered reliably, within budget.

Design Elements

When designing a part as a casting, some standard design considerations are:

  • Is there sufficient draft?  Is it placed suitably in relation to the parting line?
  • If required, where are the tooling points located?  Are they on or near the parting line?
  • Is there ample machining stock in appropriate locations?
  • Are there any unnecessarily thick or thin wall sections?
  • Are fillets and radii adequate/inline with tolerance expectations?
  • Can the number of cores be reduced/eliminated while maintaining functionality?

Tooling Creation

With an in-house pattern shop and full service machine shop, US Aluminum Castings is able to provide our clients with high quality tooling at an affordable price.  We are able to design tooling to fit all of our production lines, from cast iron permanent molds to urethane sand patterns and multi-material machining fixtures.  We take great pride in our ability to not only design our tooling, but to also build it to the highest standards.  These in-house capabilities also enable us to maintenance and repair all of our customer owned tooling whenever the need may arise.  We design it, we build it, and we use it.  This full circle capacity allows us to continually refine our designs with direct feedback from the production floor; at USAC, there is no disparity between the engineers, the builders, or the end users.

For any projects that may exceed our machining capabilities or require expedited lead times, USAC has developed strong working relationships with tooling shops located locally in the Pacific Northwest.  This allows our engineers to personally visit our subcontractors in order to directly oversee the progress of our tooling projects.

Tooling Materials: Most of our tooling projects are made from the following materials, application dependent:

Permanent Molds:

  • Cast Iron Durabar
  • 303 Stainless Steel Replaceable Components
  • H13 Hotwork Die Steel Ejector Pins
  • Blanchard Ground Steel Plates

Sand Patterns:

  • 6061 Aluminum Backing Plates
  • Urethane Cope and Drag Features
  • Hand Crafted Wooden Gating and Risers

Core Boxes:

  • Cast Iron Body with Steel Mounting Plate
  • Urethane Body with Aluminum Mounting Plates

Machining Fixtures:

  • 6061-T6 Aluminum Plate
  • Steel Locating Buttons
  • CarrLane Clamping Systems
  • Vacuum Clamping
  • Hydraulic Clamping
  • Mori Seiki Pallet Bases

Casting Capabilities

US Aluminum Castings provides high quality, tight tolerance aluminum castings for aerospace, defense, transportation, and commercial companies throughout the world. We cast using three castings processes, heat treat, machine and powder coat.  US Castings is a one-stop shop for finished, precision cast aluminum parts.

Permanent Mold  |  Dry Sand (No-Bake) Casting  |  Green Sand Casting

Aluminum Permanent Mold Casting:

Our permanent molds are handled using Hall and Stahl tilt pour machines.  This technique reduces metal tumbling during the pour resulting in superior metal quality.  Problems with internal gas, dross, and dirt are virtually eliminated.  Permanent Molds are best suited for high production commercial castings.  Aircraft quality castings may also be produced with this process when higher properties are required.  For more complex parts, sand cores or multi-pull molds (more than 2 pieces) can be designed into the permanent mold tooling.

  • 18″x24″ Tilt Pour Machines
  • 34″x34″ Tilt Pour Machings
  • 48″x62″ Tilt Pour Machines
  • Static Molds

Aluminum Dry Sand Casting:

Commonly referred to as No-Bake or chemically bonded sand casting, this process is used to produce medium to very large aluminum castings.  The best part-to-part dimensional accuracy can be delivered on large complex castings using this molding material.  As a result, medium to large size sand cores are also manufactured using this process.

  • Casting Size limited by part weight and/or processing restrictions (Heat Treat, Machining, etc)

Aluminum Green Sand Casting:

Hunter high-speed, automated molding is used for producing bread-box sized, green sand castings.  Pin lift cope and drag machines are used for medium and large sized green sand castings, and the cores for both production lines are produced using state-of-the-art automated SO2 machines.  Traditional bench molding is used to produce samples and short run parts.

  • Hunter HMPC20 20″x24″ Matchplate
  • Osborn 719RJWA Cope and Drag Machines
  • Osborn 716RJWA Cope and Drag Machines
  • International Jolt Squeezers
  • Cramer Shot Blast Cleaning Machine

Machining Technology

One of the largest customer benefits at US Aluminum Castings is our in-house machine shop.  The same engineers that design your mold tooling work with the design and layout of the machining process for each casting.  As a result, there is total cohesion between casting the part and machining its features.  By planning the casting design and machining concept in tandem, USAC is able to reduce lead times, potential scrap, and the final costs to our customers.

A few highlights of our current CNC machinery:

  • Doosan NHP 4000 Horizontal Machine (4 Axis w/Pallets)
  • Mori Seiki NH4000 Horizontal Machines (4 Axis w/Pallets)
  • Mori Seiki 1035 4020 Vertical Machines (4 Axis)
  • Haas 4020 Vertical Machine (4 Axis)
  • 6030 Fadal Vertical Machine (4 Axis)
  • Doosan CNC Lathe

Heat Treat

When initially poured, aluminum castings do not have their full potential material strength.  In order to drastically improve the material performance of cast aluminum, each casting must undergo a heat treat process.  This process involves first homogenizing the molecular structure of the metal through a gradual heating cycle and then quickly quenching the material in a water bath.  This process, in combination with artificial aging, ensures that each casting has uniform material properties that are reliable to the specific alloy/material performance requirements of our customers.

In order to ensure that we are able to continually provide our customers with quality castings, our heat treat department has been certified to Nadcap AS7102, and we have recently made a large capitol investment in new, state of the art, automated heat treat equipment.

Our ovens are capable of:

  • Part Loads up to 4,000 lb.
  • 60″x60″x60″ Envelope
  • AC7102 Heat Treat for Aluminum  Alloy Castings

Quality Assurance

As an Aerospace and Defense supplier, US Aluminum Castings endeavors to hold itself to the highest standards of performance and reliability.  As a result, we have obtained certifications across several governing bodies to ensure oversight within our manufacturing system.  Our Customers demand quality castings, we seek to meet or exceed their expectations.

Quality Control

  • NADCAP Liquid Dye Penetrant
  • NADCAP Film Radiography
  • United Tensile Tester
  • Spectrometer
  • Brinell Hardness Tester
  • Mitutoyo Coordinate Measuring Machine

Quality Certifications

  • ISO 9001:2015/AS9100D Quality Management System for Aviation, Space and Defense Organizations
  • Nadcap Accreditation AS7114 for Nondestructive Testing (Liquid Penetrant and Radiography)
  • Nadcap Accreditation AS7102 for Heat Treating (Aluminum Castings)


  • ITAR # M21916
  • Cage Code: 1UU27
  • NAICS Code: 331524
  • American Foundry Society Member