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Use of Casting Simulation and Rapid Prototyping in an Undergraduate Course in Manufacturing Processes

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Additive Manufacturing Education

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Paper Authors


Mathew Schaefer Milwaukee School of Engineering

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MATHEW SCHAEFER is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Prior to his academic work, Dr. Schaefer worked for G.E. Medical Systems and for Briggs & Stratton Corp. He earned his B.S. and M.S (Mechanical Engineering) and Ph.D (Materials Science) from Marquette University. His experiences in metallurgy, design, and failure analysis come from work in industry, projects and teaching at MSOE and projects completed as an independent consultant. He has taught courses both at university graduate/undergraduate level and has taught on-site professional development seminars.

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Mechanical Engineering students at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) study manufacturing processes in the junior year. Part of their study in this course is a project to create an original casting. This project encompasses several steps. First is to design the part and the associated mold system (gates & risers) for sand-casting the part. Next, students analyze performance of their mold layout through the use of SolidCast casting simulation software and make improvements to the initial mold layout. A final version of the casting design is submitted to the MSOE rapid prototyping center for fabrication of the casting patterns. The last step is to make an aluminum sand-cast part, in a small-scale foundry in MSOE’s labs. The project emphasizes the basic premise of the course; a manufactured part must be designed within the limitations and capabilities of the manufacturing process.

Successful completion of the project covers several key course outcomes, including: 1) understand the steps involved in basic green-sand casting process along with its capabilities and limitations, 2) apply this knowledge to design a component and mold layout, 3) understand the characteristics of a good versus poor mold layout, 4) apply modern computing methods as a means to do design of an effective mold for sand casting. With the successful implementation of SolidCast™ and rapid prototyping methods into this project, students learn course outcomes at a much higher level. In the past, the lab was an informative exercise where students made sand cast parts. Now it is a true engineering design experience for the students. They are able to approach mold design as a fluids problem, a heat transfer problem, and a manufacturing quality and cost problem.

Schaefer, M. (2016, June), Use of Casting Simulation and Rapid Prototyping in an Undergraduate Course in Manufacturing Processes Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27114

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