‹ Back to Columns

Foundry Days Give Hands-On Experience to MS&T Students

Pam Lechner

March 2021

Education takes on many forms—lectures, lessons and homework, hands-on experiences, opportunities to learn from your mistakes, and participating in events where the student becomes the teacher.

Students who are part of the Material Science and Engineering Department at Missouri University of Science & Technology (MS&T) not only sit under the teaching of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable professor (Laura Bartlett), they also participate in out-of-class learning opportunities.

Of course, some of those “open” events couldn’t be held during this past year, but the learning process didn’t stop.

One of those canceled events is Open Foundry, an opportunity for the MS&T program to invite students and community members are invited into the foundry to make their own lost foam aluminum casting. Participants carve a piece of styrofoam and are shown how a green sand mold is made and poured. They then get to keep their creation. Open Foundry events raise awareness of the metalcasting program at MS&T and the metalcasting industry as a whole. It also helps the student chapter connect with the community. Under normal circumstances, Open Foundry events are held once a semester, and are usually quite well attended.

Although the Open Foundry events didn’t take place this school year, Closed Foundry Days have filled in the learning gap. These events allow AFS Student Chapter members to pour castings that are more expensive and/or larger than those offered during Open Foundry. Students learn how to pour the material and then cast their molds themselves. This year, they poured Monel to make dominoes, mugs and hollow jack-o’-lanterns.  

One insight gained during this year’s Closed Foundry Day at MS&T involved the casting of the jack-o’-lanterns. A core issue prevented the castings to turn out perfectly hollow. The students realized that modifying their core design should fix the issue for next time. Lesson learned!

In other years, MS&T students also put their knowledge to the teaching test using Foundry-in-a-Box to show middle schoolers and high schoolers how to make sand molds. Foundry-in-a-Box has all the equipment needed for participants to make their own sand mold, and then they watch as the demonstrators cast a tin shape. Using this event, the MS&T AFS Chapter members not only teach the younger generation, they also raise awareness and interest for the metalcasting industry.

FEF students and professors appreciate the many companies that regularly contribute to FEF as their donations help fund some of these important learning and teaching opportunities.