The molds were set and the metal had been melted down as members of the Foundry Club began to work on casting projects in the basement of Watts Hall on Tuesday. After spending the past several weeks preparing the shop and materials, the club is ready to present students with a unique opportunity in working with molten metal.
As the Ohio State student chapter of the American Foundry Society, the club promotes interaction between the metal casting industry and its members to help educate students about the science of casting. Through their regular meetings, students have the opportunity to help design and cast molds, create their own projects, attend industry conferences and visit local metal casting facilities.
“If you have an interest in casting or metal in general, and like melting it down and seeing it as a liquid, that’s all it really takes for you to come in and participate,” said Drew Demmerle, a third-year in welding engineering and the recruitment chair for the Foundry Club.
Demmerle has created several projects in his two years with the organization. He said that the casting process is a lot of fun, and members can leave the shop with their finished product in the same session.
“After the metal is poured into the mold and has had time to cool down, we carefully break it apart, sand it down to make it nice and shiny and the student can take it home if they want,” Demmerle said.
With more than 45 different casts and molds ready for use, in addition to access to a 3-D printer for making projects, the club has many options available for those that are interested and creative.
Colin Ridgeway, a graduate student in aluminum casting and president of the club, said he is excited to work with new students and help them with their projects and molds. In his first term as president, he is looking forward to the ideas that potential members have to offer.
“It’s a very exciting and interesting opportunity that I am happy to have taken on. Being open to all students and all majors, it’s nice having perspectives that shed a whole new light on design aspects that engineers might not have,” Ridgeway said.
Ridgeway added that students’ projects include jewelry, trinkets and even once a replica of a sword from the TV show, “Adventure Time.”
In addition to foundry work, the club’s bi-monthly meetings also allow students to connect with the local casting community through guest speakers who share their practice and techniques with interested students. Guest speakers come to the first meeting of the month.
“A lot of students may have no idea what the industry could look like, so it’s nice to have these speakers come in and help prepare us for the professional setting,” Ridgeway said.
Each year, the Foundry Club sends six of its members to Chicago to participate in an annual Foundry Career Fair. The group said that it’s a rare opportunity for interested students to fully immerse themselves in the industry, and members keep their fingers crossed in hope of being selected for the trip.
“In the middle of November we’ll select six or seven members to send to the career fair meeting in Chicago, all expenses paid. They will get to meet with industry professionals who will take them out, show them a nice night with dinner and network with them. It’s an awesome opportunity and it helps our members out a lot,” Ridgeway said.
Ridgeway said he hopes that new members of the club will continue to show interest.
“It’s great to see the light in their eyes when they see the hot metal hit their mold and make a project they get to take home,” Ridgeway said.