In metalworking and jewellery making, casting is a process in which a liquid metal is somehow delivered into a mold (it is usually delivered by a crucible) that contains a hollow shape (i.e., a 3-dimensional negative image) of the intended shape. The metal is poured into the mold through a hollow channel called a sprue. The metal and mold are then cooled, and the metal part (the casting) is extracted. Casting is most often used for making complex shapes that would be difficult or uneconomical to make by other methods.
Casting processes have been known for thousands of years, and have been widely used for sculpture (especially in bronze), jewellery in precious metals, and weapons and tools. Traditional techniques include lost-wax casting (which may be further divided into centrifugal casting and vacuum assist direct pour casting), plaster mold casting and sand casting.
The modern casting process is subdivided into two main categories: expendable and non-expendable casting. It is further broken down by the mold material, such as sand or metal, and pouring method, such as gravity, vacuum, or low pressure.