REGARDING COVID-19: Hoosier Pattern has decided to limit face to face meetings with customers and visitors and will be heavily utilizing the use of teleconferencing and web meetings with customers until further notice. It is our goal to not only keep our employees safe but to keep visitors safe by limiting contact.
General News

Prototyping with Sand Printing

Creating Prototypes with Sand Casting 

The process of sand casting has been the same for hundreds of years. First, a pattern is placed in sand to create the mold and a gating system of some type is incorporated for the molten metal to flow into the mold. The pattern is then removed and the cavity is filled with molten metal. After the metal has cooled, the sand is broken away and the casting is removed.

Although Hoosier Pattern started as a traditional pattern shop—machining and building these patterns while becoming an industry leader—there was more to be explored within the sand casting world. Patterns are reusable and perfect for production use, but what about low volume productions or prototypes?

Back in 2013, Hoosier Pattern bought their first 3D sand printer, expanding their capabilities to more than just hard tooling. Five years later, Hoosier Pattern now has three sand printers in house and is more equipped than ever to provide prototypes.

How It Works

The 3D sand printing process is fairly simple and works as a normal 3D printer would. A CAD file is plugged into the machine and a layer of sand goes across a large job box (70.9 x 39.37 x 27.56"). Binder is then dropped where the part is to be made—the binder joins the sand together and, after layers of this repeated process are bonded together, the mold is formed and extracted from the job box. The created mold is then cleaned and sent to the foundry to be poured within 10 days of receiving the purchase order.

Benefits to 3D Sand Printing

There are two big benefits to 3D printing prototype molds and cores—cost and time.

Traditional pattern making is expensive and it can take months to get your first casting and maybe realize it's not even what you want. Under strict timelines, this may only give engineers and designers a couple of tries to get it right. With 3D printing, a customer can have a casting in a matter of days if needed. Depending on the size of the mold or core, multiple versions of a prototype can be printed at once in the same large job box and sent to the foundry together for maximum use of time.

Hoosier Pattern's method of 3D sand printing allows a customer to print multiple versions of the same prototype at the same time because we aren't committed to tooling. Within a short amount of time, multiple designs can be printed, poured, and tested, allowing for additional alterations or decisions to be made on even a shorter timeline.

Manufacturability is another gain when it comes to 3D printing. Designers are free to castings made true to design and designs don't need to be altered or compromised by manufacturability. Complex cores that would normally need assembly can be printed as one piece. Cores can also be printed with a hollow interior, allowing gas to escape or a core to collapse if need be—this achieves high-quality internal passage systems for castings.

Additionally, 3D printing has the potential to highlight issues that—in situations of traditional tooling—may not normally come up until the molds are moved into production. Finding these issues earlier in the timeline and after fewer resources have been spent help prevent these errors from surfacing for the first time further along in the project timeline, saving time and money in the end.

Every great product started as multiple prototypes that helped shape, adapt, and perfect the final product. Prototypes are essential in detecting problems, testing to see where improvements can be made, and ultimately making the final product more useful to the end user. 3D printed sand is not directed at a certain industry or a particular customer—this technology can be used by a wide range of customers from various backgrounds and industries of all levels.

Hoosier Pattern is a boundary-breaking industry leader—we take pride in elevating ourselves and our customers to top-notch solutions, meaning higher quality castings and quicker turnaround times. Contact us today to learn more or take the first step toward working with us.

3D Sand Printing vs Traditional Tooling

The Benefits of 3D Sand Printing 

Hoosier Pattern opened its doors in 1997 as a traditional pattern shop. Over 20 years later, HPI has become an industry leader as a premier pattern shop and—as of 2013—an additive manufacturer as well. Hoosier Pattern is one of the only shops in the United States that has both rapid prototyping and hard tooling capabilities. Many customers come to HPI and ask how they can determine whether to 3D print something versus having a tool built for their project.

The difference in benefits between 3D printed sand and hard tooling boil down to two factors—time and money. Hoosier Pattern's 3D printed sand molds take around ten days to craft and cost $0.13 per cubic inch. Hard tooling can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete and costs can climb to thousands of dollars.

On the surface, 3D printing looks like the way to go for every project. However, some projects are better suited for sand printing and some for hard tooling depending on the elements and goals for the project itself. But how can it be determined which method best fits your particular needs? We may have the answers you’re looking for.

When to Use 3D Printing

Prototyping

Sand printed molds and cores can only be used once, which makes them the perfect option for prototypes. If you have more than one design for a potential part, prototyping can be used to determine which mold or casting is the best option. All of the designs can be sand printed quickly, simultaneously, and at a cheaper cost. Each mold will be individually identified, which prevents confusion when it reaches the customer. Since all 3D printed sand parts start with a CAD file, parts can also easily be tweaked and re-printed.

Low Volume Production

The term “low volume” can be defined differently by every company. We define “low volume” as anywhere from 10-500 units per year. It may not be the best choice for a company to invest in the traditional tooling process if a part will only be used for a short amount of time. Sand printing may be the best option for smaller or temporary projects.

Strict Deadlines

Sand printing is the best choice when projects require a fast turnaround. At Hoosier Pattern, many of our employees have a foundry background, so we understand how critical deadlines can be. Our standard turnaround time for 3D sand prints is 10 days. This is 10 days from the time the order is placed to the time the project will be back on the foundry floor.

Our 10-day turnaround time has changed the game for many of our customers. In the past, it could have taken several months for a tool to be completed and reach a foundry. After we receive the CAD file, we plug it into a job box. Our job box is roughly the size of an average refrigerator and takes 20-22 hours to print. Because this turnaround time is so fast, we are sometimes able to do rush orders. Our employees do everything they can to ensure a customer has their product when they need it.

Geometrically Complex Parts

It's not uncommon during the process of conventional patternmaking for engineering changes to appear. Even the smallest change can pose a problem to the castings once the tooling has been produced. Since 3D printed sand begins with a CAD file, engineers are able to design and create geometrically complex casting castings to be manufactured the way they were intended to be.

Compromises don't need to be made in order to have high-functioning manufacturability while maintaining a low cost.

When to Use Traditional Tooling

High Volume Production

Although 3D printed sand molds are more cost and time effective, there are project scenarios in which traditional tooling is a better fit. For example, it doesn't make sense to have single-use molds made for a part that is going to be produced thousands of times—in the long run, a traditional pattern is going to be more cost efficient.

Tool Life

3D printed sand molds and cores can't compete with the lifespan and durability of a hard tool. While 3D printed sand is made for one-time use instances, hard tooling molds are made to withstand thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of uses.

Still wondering which process is right for you? Our engineers at Hoosier Pattern will help you make the best choice for your specific needs. We will be honest with you and let you know whether your project is best suited for 3D sand printing or traditional tooling.

Contact us today to learn more about our process and how we can use our expertise to benefit your business.

Students and Educators - You’re Invited to our Open House!

 

Mark your calendars because we are having another open house! Like the first open house, this one will be open to everyone but we are emphasizing an invitation to students and educators. Noble Barbeque will be here providing dinner and the first 100 students that finish the tour will receive their choice of coupon to ABCinema or a small pizza valid at Pizza King of Decatur.

It’s not a secret in the world of HR that finding and keeping quality employees is a challenge. Locally in our own town, manufacturers have had issues finding people that want to work and have the skills to do the work. Over the past few decades, the majority of manufacturing and skilled labor jobs have been filled by baby boomers and now all the baby boomers are starting to retire. According to an article published by the Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled and due to the skills gap, an expected 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled.

Here at HPI, we want students and their parents to know that some children aren’t made to go to 4 year universities and that is okay because there are high quality jobs to be had and businesses like HPI are proof of that. HPI employs people that have a wide variety of education. Some of our employees went to college, some went to technical schools, others came to us straight out of high school and worked their way up, but the one thing they all have in common is they all possess quality skills that make them assets to the business. Students deserve to know the details of all of the options after high school and we want to open the door to giving them more insight on a career in manufacturing.

Hoosier has an apprentice program that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. It consists of 10,000 working hours (5 years) and 12 classes taken at Ivy Tech Community College. To read more about the apprenticeship go here. Below are 3 Hoosier employees that have gone through or are currently in the apprentice program. One has been at HPI for over 10 years, one is a recent graduate of the apprentice program and the last one is in his first year of the apprenticeship.

 

Nate Chavarria
CAD Supervisor


Nate was hired in 2007, completed his apprenticeship in 2012 and recently celebrated 11 years with the company in June.

What attracted you to the trade?
Realization I could make good money and they would pay for my schooling

Did you take any classes in high school that prepared you for the apprenticeship?
No skilled trades classes during high school however I worked half days my senior year.

What are some of the reasons you would recommend this as a career path?
Right now it is what I like to call “an employee market for jobs”.  Everyone is hiring.  You have an opportunity to get into these decent paying jobs and move up in the companies fast If you show a desire to do so.  Most people I talk to go into major debt for a career they end up either not liking or not even doing.  Try it before you buy into it. 

Any other advice?
I didn’t take any skilled trades classes in high school however they are offering them more and more these days.  This is free knowledge and it will help you find out if you even like the career before you decide to go into it.  Look around when you’re driving down the road.  There are an incredible amount of businesses out there that you have no idea exist.  Ask questions and find out what these places are doing and check out the ones you think you will have a passion for.  Here at Hoosier Pattern every day we are making parts that have never been made before that is pretty cool to be a part of.

 

Phillip Bauman
Journeyman Patternmaker

Phillip graduated from Bellmont High School in 2012 and graduated from the apprentice program in 2017. Phillip initially started at HPI by just painting the outside of the building one summer before deciding to enter the apprenticeship and work his way up the pay scale.

What attracted you to the trade?
I’m mechanically wired which goes hand in hand with machining and what goes on here.

Did you take any classes in high school that prepared you for the apprenticeship?
I took all 4 years of engineering/CAD and also advanced math classes

What are some of the reasons you would recommend this as a career path?
It’s not boring and you gain skills that will help you excel in every day. It’s also cool to start with nothing and then end with a quality product.

 

Kyle Rittmeyer
Apprentice Patternmaker

Kyle graduated from Norwell High School in 2016 and is currently in his first year of the apprenticeship program. Kyle worked at HPI every summer throughout high school helping clean and do odd jobs around the shop. During his senior year of high school he got hired part time and went to school half day and worked the other half.

What attracted you to the trade?
My grandpa was a Journeyman Patternmaker and so is my dad. I looked into the trade and thought it was really cool how you can make parts that no one else can.

Did you take any classes in high school that prepared you for the apprenticeship?
I attended two years of South Adams Machine Trades and half of my senior year was spent working at HPI part time.

What are some of the reasons you would recommend this as a career path?
I would recommend any type of machining trade or working with CNC machines, not just patternmaking. There are jobs in high demand for this trade and it is a steady job that takes skill and you will never stop learning. I see different things happening almost every day.  
 

Nate, Phillip, and Kyle are just three of our employees that all have different reasons of why they picked this career and how they prepared for it. We are focusing this open house on students and educators because we want them to meet employees like this, see them work on real jobs and have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have if they are considering a career in the industry. 

See you on September 26th!

Summer Intern: Lucas Juengel

With the school year back in full swing, we wanted to give some recognition to our summer intern, Lucas! Lucas spent the summer at HPI shadowing different departments and even desiging his own part. Lucas is 18 and now a Senior at Bellmont High School. Get to know a little more about Lucas and his experience at HPI below.

 

  

How did you get connected with HPI? Did you pick it or were you placed here?
I applied to Connexus online and HPI chose me to interview and then picked me to be their summer intern

Did you have an interest in what HPI does before you  interned here? Do you have more of an interest now?
Yes, I was interested in CNC machining and 3D printing and now that I have learned as much as I could in 6 weeks about them, I am more interested in HPI. 

What type of things did you do at HPI?
I shadowed someone from each area and I learned a little bit about everything. I got to design and make 2 different projects as well. 

What did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed making a plate with a tractor on it and then designing a scaled down break rotor that I got to pour and cast. 

Did you learn some new skills during this internship?
I learned how to work a new software and also how to melt down and pour molten metal. 

How would you describe the atmosphere?
Everyone was friendly and more than willing to answer all of my questions.

Did it change/inspire any future career plans?
It inspired me to keep continuing on the path of engineering.

Would you recommend an internship or job shadowing to other students?
Yes, because I learned a ton of things this summer through the program and it gave me a taste of what the real world is like. 

 

HPI enjoyed having you this summer and we are confident with your willingness to learn and grow that you are going to do great things! Have a great school year!

Hoosier Pattern Teams Up With The United Way

Hoosier Pattern takes great pride in giving back whether it is to a specific family in need or a whole community like Adams County.  For the 20th year, Hoosier Pattern has teamed up with the United Way of Adams County's yearly efforts and some Hoosier faces are a part of the 2018-2019 campaign! 

 
Our marketing/social media coordinator, Alyssa Corral and purchaser, Tina Fourman explained why they give to the United Way.

Near the end of the campaign you will see a group shot of (almost) everyone here at HPI. Hoosier Pattern has nearly 100% employee participation in giving back to the United Way. We strive to be leaders not just within our community, but within the industry to advocate how important it is to give back. 100% of money donated goes back into the community to support a number of organizations. Employees that live outside of Adams County have the option of their donations going organizations within their home counties. In Adams County, those organizations include:

- Adams County Council on Aging, Inc
- Adams County Healthy Families
- Adams County Senior Citizens Club - Decatur
- Adams Public Library
- Adams Wells Crisis Center
- Agape Respite Care
- Alive & Well Teens, Inc
- Anthony Wayne Area Council Boy Scouts of America
- Berne Public Library
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Boys and Girls Club of Adams County
- C & C Bible Fellowship
- Cancer Services of NE Indiana
- Decatur Operation Help, Inc
- Grace Bible Church - Tiny Treasures of Grace
- Joe & Jane Project
- Junior Achievement of Decatur/Monroe
- North Adams Community Schools
- Safety Park of Adams County, Inc.
- South Adams Summer Swim Club
- The Lords Food Pantry
- The Salvation Army of Adams County

Hoosier Pattern encourages everyone to donate if they have the means. Even something as small as a dollar a week DOES make a difference. With the size of Decatur and the number of programs the United Way is involved in, chances are you know someone that has benefitted from one of these organizations. Together, we can! 

 

Learn more about the United Way of Adams County here

Watch the full 2018-2019 campaign below
 

HPI’s Newest Journeyman Patternmaker!

Jim Geimer has technically been a Journeyman Patternmaker since May of 2018 but after a couple delays, HPI finally got to present him with his official state certificate that certifies him as an official Journeyman Patternmaker! Jim started at Hoosier Pattern in February of 2012 and officially entered the apprenticeship program in January of 2013. Over the next 5 years, he logged 10,000 working hours along with taking the required 12 classes at Ivy Tech Community College. He wrapped up his apprenticeship in early 2018 and as of this morning, his certificate is officially hanging on our wall! 

All Hoosier Pattern employees as well as Jim's wife, Stephanie, were there for the presentation. 

  

Congratulations Jim! We are so proud of you and can't wait to see the great work you do in the future. 

Thanks for Coming! Open House July 2018

In July, we hosted an open house for our friends, families and the community to come in on a regular working day and see what we do on a daily basis. This is the first time HPI has ever opened its doors for people to come in. We weren't sure what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in seeing what we do everyday. The doors were set to open at 11am and at 10:45 there was a line outside of people waiting to get in! Over 400 people came through the doors and toured our facility making our open house a huge success. Local food vendors, Noble Barbeque and C&J Shaved Ice, were on site serving people good food and refreshing treats throughout the day. 

Throughout the tour, visitors got to walk the shop floor and see our many CNC machines working on current projects in the shop. In the sand room, visitors were some of the first people to see our brand new 3rd in house 3D sand printer! They got to extract their own keychain molds, clean the excess loose sand out of them just like a sand room employee would do and then take them to a pouring station where an HPI employee assisted them with pouring molten metal into the clean mold. Once the casting cooled down, visitors got to break open the molds and pull out their casting. Although HPI doesn't do any pouring in our facility on a regular basis, visitors got a glimpse of what happens after our products leave our facility and go to a foundry. The keychain pouring station was one of the most popular parts of the day!

  

 

In the quality room, visitors were able to see the laser scanner working in real time. Apprentice Patternmaker Kyle Rittmeyer was operating the laser all day scanning the hands of visitors showing them the process of how the scanner works and explaining the uses for it. Scanning hands on top of a basketball helped show the detail that our laser can pick up. 

 

Friends and families of HPI employees had the opportunity to come in and see where their loved ones spend 40 (sometimes more!) hours a week. Our family members are a part of our extended HPI family and it was exciting to share with them what we do every day and how we do it. 


Above: Hadley (daughter of our CAD supervisor, Nate Chavarria) got to come in and see what her dad does at work!


Above: Haydenne (daughter of office staff Kristen Hake) came in to see mom's desk!

Going into this open house and not knowing what the response was going to be was exciting and scary at the same time. We cannot thank the community enough for taking an interest in what we do here at HPI and supporting us as employees and as friends. If you missed this open house, don't worry! We are already planning another one and can't wait to see you here. 

We’re Having An Open House!

HPI is having an open house and you are invited! We are opening our doors for the public to come inside and see what we do on a day to day basis. We are proud to be a part of a hardworking community and are excited to share what we do with them. 

There will be refreshments, facility tours and even some casting! We will have our 3D sand printers running in our newly renovated sand room. There will be a job box fresh out of a 3D printer where people can extract their own keychain molds from the sand, clean them and then pour molten metal into them! Once the keychains cool, employees will help remove the gating and rough edges so attendees can take home a small keepsake from HPI. 

Along with our 3D sand printers running, our CNC machines will be running, our plastic printer will be printing and our laser scanner will be fired up for visitors to see HPI work in real time. 

Mark your calendars and come see the great things we are doing every day at Hoosier Pattern! 

 

   

Coming Summer 2018

Hoosier Pattern prides itself on being innovative and consistently raising the bar within the industry while maintaining the level of quality they are known for. Back in 2013, Hoosier was the first top service center to own and operate their own 3D sand printer in the United States. Coming Summer 2018, Hoosier will be the only service provider to own and operate two 3D sand printers under their roof along with maintaining a 3rd printer in their facility as well.

 

Customers are the driving force behind everything Hoosier does and this expansion is no different. This will allow Hoosier to take on jobs that once had to be turned away due to capacity restrictions. The current turnaround time for printed sand of 10 days will remain standard; however the possibility to turn printed parts around sooner -if needed- for customers has greatly increased.

On top of the addition of the 3rd sand printer in house, Hoosier has recently added a 5-axis machining center as well as 3 Doosan DNM 650’s to the machining side of the shop. All of these additions allow Hoosier to maintain current customers as well as take on new customers with more complex projects.

Exciting things are happening at HPI. Stay Tuned!

HPI Plays a Part in NASA Student Launch Program

The NASA Student Launch Program is a year-long engineering design program that allows college teams to work right alongside NASA engineers to build and launch a model rocket to a height of one mile. Each year students design, build, and test the model rocket capable of reaching 1 mile, while also carrying a scientific payload. This program also features a series of reports that must be submitted to NASA that go through the engineering design process for the team. 

 

Below is an interview with a student at York College of Pennsylvania, Kyle Abrahims about the project and how HPI played a role in it. 

What are the specifics for the rocket for 2017?
​On the rocket for 2017, we will have an automated rover payload that will be carried during flight. This rover will need to know when it is launched and when it has reached its' target (the ground after flight). Once it reaches the ground, it will sense this change and move automatically via electronics a certain distance away from the rocket. Once it has moved 10 feet, it will open up a set of solar panels from which energy will then be collected.

When designing the rocket for this year we wanted to build something different and unique. Normally a model rocket would have fins (for flight stability or to maintain a straight flight), but these fins are normally epoxied (strong adhesive) to the rocket tubing. This creates a problem if a fin breaks, because now the entire back tubing must be replaced in addition to the fin that is broken. The fin-can that we designed in CAD is designed to take the place of these fins. They function the same, but now if a fin were to break, we can easily replace it in a matter of seconds, rather than in a matter of days (epoxy takes a while to dry)

 

How many people are working on this project? (how many people are on the team, what is your role)
There is a total of 10 students working on this project. All attend York College of Pennsylvania for Mechanical Engineering and are hoping to work in the racing and aerospace industries after graduation. My role is the team captain (basically I oversee everything and make sure that everything is getting done correctly and on-time). But I am involved in every aspect of the project and I love it.

 

How did you hear about Hoosier Pattern? What made you want to work with them? What was the obvious advantage?
I race a sprint car in Central Pennsylvania as well, so I attended the Performance Racing Industry Show in Indianapolis and met the team at the show. The team was super friendly and they said that themselves and their boss were willing to help out college students, which for us is amazing and very much appreciated as we do not have a very large budget compared to some of the other universities competing. (Other schools include: MIT, Vanderbilt, Penn State, NC State, Florida University, Cornell, exc.)

The obvious advantage was the customer service and the help that I received from the start! It was super helpful and helped our team get going immensely!

Was there a problem/issue that HPI helped solve or make your project possible? How long were you looking for a solution?
We were looking for a fin-can solution for about a month and could not find any company willing to help us out with our design parameters. The print is rather large which also played a role, but HPI helped make our project possible by allowing us to transform my idea and Solidworks’ design into a tangible product which was amazing and I am forever thankful for the help that I received!

 

A huge thank you to Kyle and the rest of the team at York for reaching out to HPI and allowing HPI to be apart of this project. Good Luck to you and your team on the rest of the school year!