People often wonder how we are able to create so many products using many different methods. What people don’t often realize, is that everything we do is linked through pattern making. Pattern Making isn’t a widely known trade, however it is a highly skilled trade. Not only does the trade require a vast knowledge of products and materials, it also requires fine woodworking skills, plastics processing, metal work, and finishing. The following is a definition of pattern making.
Patterns are necessary prerequisites in the making of molds for casting all metals and other materials. The art of pattern making came into being when man first began to cast molten metals into molds to produce castings for utilitarian purposes as well as objects of art. These were cast of copper or gold, then in bronzes, iron, steel, and many other alloys. Today, pattern making is essential to the manufacture of all types of machinery for modern industry.
A pattern maker must be able to read a drawing, sketch or blueprint correctly and visualize the finished article. He must have a general knowledge of foundry methods and techniques in order to construct the pattern required to make the mold for casting the molten metal into the desired shapes and sizes. He must also have a comprehensive knowledge of the principles of foundry practices, molding, and core making, be able to estimate the shrinkage of metals and visualize every process of manufacture from the drafting table to the finished article. He should have a knowledge of the equipment and limitations of the machine shop that will machine finish and erect the castings. He must be adept in the use of plastics, woods, and metals, these being the materials from which patterns are commonly fashioned.
Pattern Making can be divided into the following units:
Before selecting materials and equipment from which to make a pattern, the use intended for that pattern must be considered for primary use and expected life of primary patterns are of fundamental importance.
As you can see from the definition, the trade covers many elements of manufacturing. Being pattern makers allows us to use any all of these skills to create products.
*Definition is from the Pattern Maker’s Manual, printed by the American Foundrymen’s Society.