Category Archive: Castings

How to Make a Toy Car that Won’t Break

When I was a little boy, I would often go to see my grandparents, who lived on the west side of Chicago. This was always exciting to me. It was very different from our home, two miles away but it might have been a million miles away for all it seemed.

They had a neighbor there that was just fascinating to me, that I would have loved to visit in those day. And almost 60 years later, I guess I’d still love to.

Now the grandparents are long gone, and the house was torn down years ago, but their neighbor – the building where the Tootsietoy factory was – is still there.

For years untold millions of simple little die-cast cars were pumped out of the factory at 600 N. Pulaski in Chicago, and little boys everywhere would play with them.

They were cheap, I believe that you could buy a sleeve of ten cars for a dollar back then.

They were basically failproof gifts when it came to boys.

They weren’t the fancier Matchbox or later Hot Wheels cars that would come along later. But there was less to break. They were virtually indestructible to a kid. Nor were they battery powered, but they had plenty of engine sounds and brake squeals, courtesy of your average 1st grader.

Back then, I’d play with them. I would have loved to go into the factory to see them made, but at that time I had no idea how they were made. But now I know.

Manufacturing Simplified

Tootsietoys were simple metal toy cars, typically made of one diecast body two axles, and four plastic wheels. The bodies would be spray painted, then the wheels would be pushed on to the axles, and the axles would snap onto arms protruding from the underside of the body.

They were very durable, unless you wanted to hit them with a hammer the bodies were hard to destroy. Of course, you could damage the wheels but otherwise they were almost indestructible.

They were the early versions of Lego’s, meaning if you walked around in bare feet and stepped on one of them that was sitting upside down, you would not forget the experience. I know, I proved this many times.

It’s pretty simple. You have a mold, or a set of molds, that you put a pattern into. Metal is heated till it is in a liquid state, then it is injected into the mold, then cooled till it is solidified.

The finished product would then go off to the paint line, then the wheels and axles were added, and the cars would be packaged and sent out to stores, and then go to kids everywhere.

Still Economical

Many years have gone by, but for some items, die-casting is still the best, most economical way to go to produce durable goods, be they shelf brackets, utensils or even toys. And Fast-Rite can make them for you

Do you have a product you need diecast?

Give our engineers a call at 888.327.8077 or email us at


Why Cast?

Casting is most often used for making complex shapes that would be difficult or uneconomical to make by other methods.

Precision engineered castings are found everywhere.  Your car, for example.  The water pump, alternator, air conditioning clutch, perhaps the brackets holding these devices, manifolds and more, all are prime examples of highly engineered precision castings.

The same is true in trucks, trains – some train body beds are made from a single casting , planes, and construction equipment.  But that’s not even the tip of the macro scale. In the US alone there are over 57,000 wind turbines, nuclear reactors, defense products and many other items.

Our infrastructure is well populated with pipes, fittings, valves, hydrants, and this extends all the way into our homes.   Even our appliances are made in part of casted material. And that computer you’re using to read this?  It’s probably got one or more heat sinks made of casted aluminum dissipating the heat generated. The American Foundry Society states that 90% of all manufactured durable goods and nearly all manufacturing machinery are produced by means of engineered castings.

Some of these applications are simple and not complex. Traditional casting methods like lost-wax (investment), plaster mold or sand casting may be simply the most cost-effective way of producing them. This makes casting a very common method of fabricating parts in developing countries.

But technology can supercharge the casting process, drastically increasing the output and minimizing the production cost.

Centrifugal casting, vacuum-assist and pressure can greatly speed the casting process.  High volume applications use non-expendable molding engineered to properly flow the material quickly and completely to create the desired form.

Casting process simulation software helps calculate component quality and can accurately predict the resulting mechanical properties.  Various inspection methods depending upon material can be used to prevent defects, including liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, radiography, and ultrasonic testing.

Fast-Rite casting engineers are experts in mold design and engineering the production process to produce the right result, whether it’s smaller than a thumbnail or that proverbial train bed. The goal is to produce the casting you want with the strength needed, the exact dimensions and appearance characteristics you desire – a consistent, reliable output meeting the production volume and the expected costs every time.

Fast-Rite’s casting menu includes:

  • Aluminum Gravity Casting
    • Sand Casting
    • Permanent Mold Casting
  • Aluminum Die Casting
  • Zinc Alloy Die Casting
  • Investment Casting
  • Stainless Steel Investment Casting
  • Alloy Steel Investment Casting
  • Carbon Steel Investment Casting

Fast-Rite’s precision casting methodology is designed to maximize savings on each step of the process including not only the precision casting itself but also material inventory, working procedure, packing and transportation.

Casting allows a wide variety of materials to fit the use case intended, including but not limited to:

  • Aluminum alloy A356, A360, A380, ADC10, ADC12, etc.
  • Carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, heat resistant steel
  • Zinc, Zinc #3, Zinc #5, Magnesium Alloy
  • ZL101, 102, 104 with T4/T5/T6 treatment

Finish treatments include:

  • Chrome Plating
  • Electrophoresis
  • Electropolish
  • Passivation (Aluminum)
  • Painting
  • Polishing
  • Powder Coating
  • Shot Blasting
  • Sandblasting

Do you want to ensure reliable, cost-effective precision stamping for your application? Contact the Fast-Rite Engineering staff to discuss the best solutions for your particular use case. Phone 888.327.8077 or email