Tooling consists of all of the required fixtures and elements that are needed to provide us with the internal and external geometry of our finished casting. Tooling for a casting can consist of but is not limited to the core box, a loose pattern, a match plate, or a permanent mold.
With loose patterns, or match plates the tooling serves as the slug that the sand is packed around to create our desired geometry. Permanent molds and core boxes are in them selves molds that provide the external geometry of the casting or the core
Given the demand of the customer each piece of tooling has a point at which it becomes the most economical way to produce a casting. For example, single part production or prototyping would require no more then a loose pattern while a production run of 5000 castings would demand the use of a match plate or permanent mold.