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Wood Patterns for Metal Castings


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  #1  
Old 03-30-2014, 08:26:48 PM
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Default Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

I just wanted to draw a little bit of attention to something new that I will be getting into here at my fabrication shop. Some people have already approached me on this subject and said it may turn out to be a promising thing for the future of what we do here. I have started to build wood patterns for people who my want to have metal castings done. Take the picture of the sign you see as an example. I am able to make the pattern for this sign for someone in the field of making the actual castings. I can do this same sort of thing with parts that might be hard for people to find as long as they were not too complicated to make out of wood. I have heard that this is sort of thing is a lost art and I will be getting into it a little bit more as time develops.

This might be something that would be of a good assistance to those in the scale modeling?

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:29:25 PM
Pete LaBelle Pete LaBelle is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

I've made several patterns for missing parts on my tractors. Kinda fun, actually.

Regarding your sign, I have made several plaques in the past. My need for letters is smaller than yours in your photo. What I've used is to head to the local office stationery store, and buy a set of the plastic letters you see on the signs that many businesses have in their lobby. The black felt type with small horizontal lines that can be easily changed. They typically say "John Smith Welcome to Acme Company" or something like that.

Clip off the tabs on the back and glue them to your pattern. They have ample draft, and can be purchased in several sizes and fonts.

Good luck !

Pete
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:15:27 PM
cyberbadger cyberbadger is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

contractor1977,

By the photo I think you just got or made a CNC router. (X and Y, and limited Z)

This is becoming increasingly cheaper and cheaper to do or or buy. You can buy a full kit on Ebay for $2000 or less from China to make that pattern.

Or you can make your own if you follow the Maker movement.

You keep trying to offer services for $ on threads were it is not allowed or insinuate as much.

I also think you are trying to pursue the wrong market. US Traction Engine owners are not interested in replica steam whistles nor patterns.

You should look for a different market for your talents - which you have and are getting better and better at.

-CB
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:48:22 AM
Ed Bays Ed Bays is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

There's a lot to making patterns. Most foundries won't work with loose patterns anymore, but some will. You will have to learn about core boxes, match plates, and if you get into bigger stuff shrink rulers. A sign is pretty easy compared to real pattern making. If someone needs a part made, it isn't too large, and there is an iron or ductile foundry that will work with loose patterns nearby, the smart money is usually on borrowing an original part, having it cast, and do some machine work. I suggest looking at this thread to see some patterns and cores:
http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=127514 There are several photos of patterns, but post #57 and #64 are two.

A friend and I combined talents to make the pattern for the column of the little Otto in the picture. We just modified an existing flywheel to cast them. We built five of them. One for him, one for me, one for the guy that had the blueprints, and two for his grandsons. If it would have been just one or two, the smart money would have been on machining them. Sorry, but I doubt that you will get rich at it.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:09:21 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

With CNC machining (end mill) it's real easy to make signs. In fact 35 years ago when CNC became popular that was one of the programing examples they gave you when your company bought a CNC machine.

The machinist could program one up at night to make his name. It had the side benifit of motivating you to learn CNC programing because you were making "your" sign as a side project.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:00:49 PM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

Not looking to get rich at making wood patterns, just something to add as an extra service to others.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:19:37 PM
cyberbadger cyberbadger is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

contractor1977,

If you can (or have someone) can make a digital model it can be easier to have it easier now days to have that model be 3D printed, and cheaply into a form that any descent foundry can cast into a solid real metal form.

And now days it is easier and easier to make a digital model by some really cool laser scanning techniques.

I LOVE the lost arts, don't get me wrong. But I feel the US folks who are into are into hand fired steam are totally neglecting new technologies.

-CB
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:11:16 PM
TractionEngines TractionEngines is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

Shrink rulers... There was fun.... Give the "new guy" in the shop one of them when they asked for a ruler, when they should be using mic's. Wait until the part was done then see how long it took them to figure out why noting fit, or the "thing" was oversized, etc....

The good old days. May have to go dig my shrink rulers out.
Mike.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:56:16 PM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

Well first of all I would like to say thank you to all who have been watching this forum. My apologies for not getting back on here sooner. I have my hands in 5 or more projects at the same time here at my own shop.

Anyway, enough of me blabbing about my shop. The picture of the wood sign that I first put on here was done simply by me using a router with several hours of work. I do not have any CNC machines here at my shop. I did that sign with a steady hand and lot's of patients to go with it. I can do other stuff as far as patterns made out of wood. I just haven't had the time nor the funds to show much of what I can do. It's hard starting off but I feel the ball is rolling now better than before.

For CB, you may be right about the traction engine community not wanting replica steel whistles for any antique equipment. But I have met a few people along the way who own steam tractors, stationary boilers and such who don't mind what material the whistles are made out of just as long as they sound pleasing to everyone.

I have hired a part time CAD programmer who will be assisting me with writing the programs for a CNC lathe or mill so that one day here soon I could offer a full size brass whistle with the same specs in mind as the replica steel ones I make currently. I might even get frisky and one day try my hand at making a wood pattern for a full size 6 chime whistle so that it could be cast as one solid piece. I have been taking advise from many others on the wood patterns, particularly in making whistles. My biggest mentor right now is Michael Daugherty from MD Whistles. He and a couple others have been a tremendous help in getting me to where I am today.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:26:16 PM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

At the early age of 17, I was chosen for an apprenticeship position from 3 local area high schools at a local Steel Foundry, to work 1/2 day in the pattern shop while attending high school 1/2 day. After graduation, I was granted a full time position, along with 100 employees at the steel plant, making foundry boards, heading and gating, drilling match plates,and repairing old patterns, some were over 100 yrs old. These steel castings, could be up to 6,000 lbs, were shipped around the world. After working there several years, I decided to start my own Custom Millwork Sole Proprietorship. Upon the closing of the foundry, and the relocation of the pattern shop, the foundry boards were then subcontracted to me. After 28 years, Custom Millwork including, wood turnings, custom molding knives made in-house for any pattern, wood flooring, custom rosettes, tongue and grove 2x6's, 2x6 log siding and quarter-round, one piece 9ft custom porch posts on a rotary back knife lathe, custom lathe heads are created as needed (any job can be completed - from small to large). I know my apprenticeship, gained at an early age, was a unforgettable experience that granted me the strength, knowledge and stability I have in my business today. I agree, it is a shame it is a lost art.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:10:35 AM
jaw123 jaw123 is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

It is only recently that I have been reading on how to put the pieces of technology we use at work to use for my hobby. I work for a sheet metal fabricator and installer. We have six CAD guys, draw in 3d and perform our own 3d laser scanning of job sites. It is the 3d scanning technology that is incredible. At some point I will convince one of the CAD guys to draw a piece for me from a scan

James
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:06:04 PM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

Guess I should have kept better track of this thread as I loved the scenario given by Lester Bowman and tharper's post and wish I had been able to thank them both. At least I was able to thank Firetube for his post.

While I can see the benefits of modern technology making everything easier, and I may dabble in it myself sometime in the future, there's nothing as admirable as a well made wooden pattern and all the work that went in to making it. They are truly a work of art compared to something modern that's just 'neat to look at'.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:43:07 AM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

Lester Bowman's post reminded me of this pattern I made in 2009. It is the first serious pattern that I made. It is about 28" long, made of entirely of mahogany, and contains 100 individual pieces. Because of the amount of time it took I have never made another pattern that looked as nice.

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Old 06-11-2014, 10:48:23 AM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

I wouldn't say that the "old ways" are dead. Around here I can go to at least 3 or 4 metal casting classes each year where
"the old ways" are the order of the day. My son and I just attended a bronze casting workshop in St Paul Mn that has been going annually for about 4 years now. We both did sand casting. I used a broken original fence quadrant from a jointer, adding draft with thin strips of masking tape and he used lost wax to make 10 ignition cams for an old Cushman ATV.
Nobody around here, on a hobby basis, at least, is casting in steel. But you can do aluminum, bronze and cast iron. There were a total of 12 students in that class, using plasticine patterns, wooden patterns, etc..

Pete Stanaitis
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:24:31 AM
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Default Re: Wood Patterns for Metal Castings

I do foundry patterns also
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