Students Cast for Better Futures

While studying for an Engineering Technology degree at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, students have the opportunity to go beyond traditional metalworking curricula and enter the interesting world of metal casting.

Initial project undertaken by the PSU engineering students. Educational AND useful!

Following a course in manual machining, they are introduced to automated machining where they have access to forty seats of Mastercam and CNC machine tools that include milling centers and an abrasive water jet cutting system. According to Assistant Professor Jacob Lehman, after the students learn programming for 2D work for the CNC mills and water jet system, they get into the more complex programming of 3D tool paths for the tooling used in PSU’s metal casting program.

Students prepare for programming a bottle opener casting mold.

This program is nationally known and every Spring, PSU hosts the Investment Casting Institute’s International Training Session for industry certification. They have multiple ways to melt metal at PSU, including resistance electric, gas fired and induction furnaces. Mr. Lehman says that using Mastercam software results in precise tool paths needed to take advantage of the benefits of investment castings:
intricate forms with undercuts may be cast; a very smooth surface reflects the smooth tooling; there is no parting line; and the cast part has good dimensional accuracy.

Assistant Professor Jacob Lehman helps a student with his mold.

Pittsburg State University’s placement record has been running at 100%. Their students go on to great jobs in the metal casting industry, as well as in manufacturing companies of all sizes. According to Mr. Lehman, their program, that includes Mastercam, fosters a good work ethic and gives the students the tools they need to succeed in automated manufacturing.

Final steps – students produce their molds.

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