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Zinkgraf and Kowalewski at casting competition with Kyle Metzloff
March 29, 2023

Mechanical Engineering Undergrads Win Casting of the Year Competition

Written By: Caitlin Scott


A student team from UW-Madison won the Casting of the Year competition at the Wisconsin Regional American Foundry Society Conference in February!

Zinkgraf and Kowalewski casting
Dylan Zinkgraf and Teekay Kowalewski with their part

Mechanical Engineering students Dylan Zinkgraf and Teekay Kowalewski represented the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) Team in the American Foundry Society Wisconsin Regional Conference’s Student Casting Competition. The casting the students competed with was the new steering corner part for this year’s HPVC vehicle. Over the last few months, they revised the casting and mold design using Solidworks and MAGMAsoft, respectively. In the final two weeks before competition, both Zinkgraf and Kowalewski put in nearly 80 hours of work to finalize the design, prepare the mold, cast, and finish machine their part. The part was cast in the Materials Science & Engineering (MS&E) foundry and they machined it off-campus at Prof. Metzloff’s shop. The steering corner Zinkgraf and Kowalewski presented was cast out of aluminum alloy A356-T6 as a proof-of-concept for their unique tilt-pour sand casting method. For the final parts, they plan to create the corners with A206-T7 aluminum alloy.

Zinkgraf and Kowalewski previously took MS&E 461 Advanced Metalcasting, instructed by Adjunct Professor Kyle Metzloff of UW-Platteville. Undergraduate and graduate students enroll in this course because of its balance of theory, introduction to real-world casting problems (including industry tours), and hands-on experience in the UW-Madison foundry located in the Materials Science & Engineering Building. The 461 course is largely supported by the Foundry Educational Foundation, which has many scholarships available for students interested in getting involved in metal casting. The students also benefited from contributions from Eck Industries, Carley Foundry, and Madison-Kipp Corporation and continued advising from Prof. Metzloff.

UW-Madison is a long time collaborator with UW-Platteville’s renowned metal casting program, a program that continually places the most engineers in foundries across the United States. Together they are committed to teaching and training students in the core industrial practice of metal casting.

Check out a compilation video of the casting in action in the MS&E Foundry:

Wisconsin Aluminum Tilt Pour Sand Casting Compilation

Zinkgraf and Kowalewski casting
Wisconsin Regional American Foundry Society Conference
Zinkgraf and Kowalewski casting
Zinkgraf and Kowalewski at work
ME Casting feature MAGMA image
Resultant simulated porosity for final chill and insulation configuration
Zinkgraf and Kowalewski casting
Practicing the casting tilt process before pouring the metal
Zinkgraf and Kowalewski casting
Kowalewski attaching their part to the HPVC vehicle
Kowalewski casting project
Machining the bearing surface on the casting

Featured image: Dylan Zinkgraf and Teekay Kowalewski pictured with Prof. Kyle Metzloff at the Wisconsin Regional American Foundry Society Conference.