MCC News

MCC Students Place Second in Regional American Foundry Society Competition

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spencer Jackson, Tony Wortleboer, Paul MilesVying against three major universities, Muskegon Community College placed second in the 76th Annual Wisconsin Regional Foundry Conference and Exposition casting competition held Feb. 12 in conjunction with American Foundry Society (AFS) meeting in Milwaukee, WI.

The University of Wisconsin claimed the first place $2,000 prize, while MCC captured $1,000 for second place. Western Michigan University and Purdue University also competed. Three MCC applied technology students – Spencer Jackson, Tony Wortleboer and Paul Miles – represented the AFS Student Chapter of MCC in Milwaukee.

"I am very proud of the effort of our students and how well they showed at the competition,” said MCC Instructor Jeff Johnston, who coordinated the student effort. “We are all thankful and grateful for Jeff Cook, sales manager at Eagle Alloy for his assistance, and to Eagle Alloy and the West Michigan Chapter of AFS for their financial support in making the competition a reality for our MCC students. Mark Houston, our adjunct instructor, was invaluable with his knowledge and understanding of cast metals.”

(Left to right) Don Crowley, Tomy Wortelboer, and Mark Houston mainatin the no-bake sand mixer after making the award-winning casting.The MCC students designed and produced a sand-casted hand pump housing for garden pumps and for use in Third World nations to draw drinking water from local wells. The nine-inch long unit weighs less than four pounds.

“The students decided that if a lightweight hand pump could be produced, then the goal of having a hand pump created from aluminum versus cast iron could be accomplished,” explained Johnston, noting the strong and lightweight material would not corrode in any environment - from deserts to rain forests.

The casting had to have two patterns, an outer shell and an interior core, that locked together.

"This project has allowed students to see the entire manufacturing process, “added Johnston. “ The best part of this project was that students from various areas of the Applied Technology Department worked together to complete it.”

MCC students in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) designed the pump so that components from other pumps could be readily be used, Johnston noted.  The drawings and models were passed onto the machining and cast metals students to determine the viability of the components. Once the design was validated for process, the pattern was machined by CNC students. Next, the patterns were sent to the foundry for pouring.

For more information, contact Jeff Johnston at (231) 777-0246 or