How Are Diecast Toys Made?
The original diecast toys contained large amounts of lead, which people now know is harmful if ingested. Since then, toy companies replaced lead with a zinc alloy, which retains the same appearance and purity, but without the lethal nature. Today, diecast toys primarily satisfy a collector's market, although several manufacturers still use this process. Many facets of the toy manufacturing industry have changed, but diecast toys remain virtually unchanged in the last 100 years, since the days of lead soldiers.
A toy maker first creates a sculpture of the toy in the form of a mold. Originally, artists constructed molds solely by hand, but now computers are used. Once finished, the sculpture is a series of identical molds, in which the metal is poured. Companies avoid impurities in the metal because of the proximity to children, so this metal is superheated. Once cooled, the mold (also called a die, hence the name) is broken and a toy falls out.
Finishing the toy
Depending on the toy, artists or machines hand paint the die cast once it is cooled and extra, non-metal parts are added. As stated, diecast toys are a collector's industry, with scale model trucks, cars, airplanes and construction equipment purchased by enthusiasts. Several companies such as Mattel and Tonka specialize in diecast toys. Hot Wheels, the decades old brand of toy cars, still sells diecast toys, although the process has changed.
Diecast toys delight owners with both the look and durability of metal. Relatively inexpensive, these toys continue to make children squeal with joy.