“So… our Key Professor volunteered our school (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) to make the mementos for the 2017 FEF College Industry Conference (CIC). Now what? What kind of casting should we make? We need how many?! What has he gotten us into?!
“The mementos are given to the students, professors, board members, and other attendees at the CIC, so we needed to be able to produce at least 175 frying pans — and more if possible — to thank all of the students and sponsors who made the annual event possible.
“We decided to make a small cast-iron frying pan and opened the design phase to anyone who wanted to submit an idea. Starting with over 30 proposals, we narrowed the choices down to those that we could manufacture and that represented our love of metalcasting.
“After many calculations, modifications, and simulations, we began to produce the tooling for the castings at the end of the 2017 spring semester, and we were ready to begin the casting process in October. Working on the pans became the focus of the AFS Student Chapter members for the next month, as several dozen students dedicated over 2,000 hours to molding, casting, and finishing the pans.
“A week before the conference, we finished the order – 525 pans in all – but there was one more step that we wanted to take. Thanks to the generosity of Lodge Manufacturing, we packaged them up and road-tripped to South Pittsburg, TN, where we were able to get the pans seasoned before making them available to the CIC attendees.
“From start to finish, the project was a great educational experience for all of us. Not only were we able to provide mementos for the CIC attendees, but were able to try new processes in our foundry and experience all the aspects of production. (A video of the project is posted online.)
“After giving out pans to thank all of our sponsors, we will have some left over to sell to raise money for our AFS Student Chapter.