The UNI Metal Casting Center


Students standing around the foundry waiting for the aluminum to melt during an open pour night.
Students standing around the foundry waiting for the aluminum to melt during an open pour night.

Hidden away on the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) campus is the Metal Casting Center (MCC) where students learn how to work at a forge. The UNI Metal Casting Center was established in 1990 with a vision of specializing in the advancement of research related to the metal casting industry. Today the MCC employs over 20 students and is completely self-funded. 

Outside of the Industrial Technology Center on the UNI campus where the MCC is located.
Outside of the Industrial Technology Center on the UNI campus where the MCC is located.

The MCC at UNI is employed by various industry professionals that have the student workers test and research anything and everything from the sand used in the molds to the pouring of the metal. Senior Taite Gallagher, one of the student workers at the MCC, says that the “UNI’s foundry is very unique, it has its own patented methods of testing that other industries will pay to have done.”

Scrap brass sits in the middle of the foundry waiting to be melted down and poured into a sculpture.
Scrap brass sits in the middle of the foundry waiting to be melted down and poured into a sculpture.

The foundry is almost always busy with outside work; students average four to five projects a week with the busy seasons during the summer and winter breaks. This allows for the students to focus more on their own studies and work towards their degrees. Many of the students use this extra downtime to inform others at UNI of the MCC existence.

Open pour night at the MCC, students are gathered around a table making sand molds.
Open pour night at the MCC, students are gathered around a table making sand molds.

While UNI’s foundry is well known to other professionals in the metal casting business it often goes unnoticed by most students at UNI. In an attempt to attract more students, the MCC holds an open house night where students at UNI are invited to make a sculpture from scratch themselves. The MCC provides all of the tools students will need along with snacks and information on the major. 

Molten aluminum being poured from the foundry on an open pour night at the MCC.
Molten aluminum being poured from the foundry on an open pour night at the MCC.

 

 

 

 

Those who are curious to find out more should schedule a visit to UNI or visit the MCC website at https://mcc.uni.edu/