LumberJocks

What The Heck is Pattern-Making???

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by poopiekat posted 786 days ago 2916 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3557 posts in 2335 days


786 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I see them occaisionally. Tools of all sorts of interest to the ‘Pattern-Maker’ Is this trade part of fabricating sand-cast molds for the foundry industry? I just don’t get it. And now, here’s this vise posted locally, looks like a nifty old bench vise, but my god, it’s $1500!!! Holy Moly! It’s 18” wide!! But, I’ve seen even attachments, soles actually for Stanley #55/45 planes for use by Pattern Makers. As a kid, I used to peek in the back door of an old bronze casting factory, (it was always open, and hot as blazes) but I never saw any woodworking going on, so…I dunno! I am aware of the techniques used by Rodin to make elaborate bronze statuary, starting with a sculpted original, which in industrial processes may have been created in wood using pattern-maker equipment?? Anyhoo, here’s a pic: patternvise If you REALLY know what pattern-making is, in the industrial sense of the word, please explain it to me!!! Of course all comments are welcome.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


34 replies so far

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 1997 days


#1 posted 786 days ago

You are correct. Pattern makers make wooden replicas of the parts to be cast.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3557 posts in 2335 days


#2 posted 786 days ago

Thanks, Scott! Google mostly had hits on dressmakers supplies, sheesh!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Blair Helgason's profile

Blair Helgason

169 posts in 2015 days


#3 posted 786 days ago

I don’t think I can help as much as I should be able to but up until 2002 I was on my way to becoming a third generation pattern maker. My grandfather opened his business in the 60’s after moving to Canada from Germany, my Father then took over until the shop had to close it’s doors due to lack of business, mostly to CNC technology.

In our shop the work was mostly comprised of machine parts for mining and railroads. You are right about being a “part of fabricating sand-cast molds for the foundry industry”, expect that our role was creating the original part out of wood using a blueprint. The patterns needed to be extremely precise, up to 1000th while also allowing for shrinkage depending on the type of metal the final part was to be produced in. This wood pattern was then sent to a foundry to be cast in sand to make a mold.

There’s a lot more to it but that’s the jist. I was only working for a couple years before my Dad had to close his doors so I don’t know a lot about the entire process but if you have any other questions, I’ll take a stab at them.

-- Blair

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3557 posts in 2335 days


#4 posted 786 days ago

Thanks, Blair!
I’m curious about metal-casting at home, looks like fun! I met an old man in the neighborhood who casts simple objects like coat-hooks and fishing lures out of aluminum coke cans. Then there was that movie about “The World’s Fastest Indian” about an old-timer who raced his ancient motorcycle with pistons he casted himself in his garage crucible… It’s indeed a shame that one more artisan discipline has faded away. This stuff fascinates me, but I’d bet that few people would have much regard for the old processes that built this country.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 1997 days


#5 posted 786 days ago

Pattern makers really are machinist working with wood instead of metal. The tolerances they sometimes work with are way tighter than what most furniture designs require. Those guys are good !

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7253 posts in 2248 days


#6 posted 786 days ago

An Emmert vise in complete condition is worth $500-750, so
I’d say your local seller’s price is unrealistic.

Search google for “backyard foundry” and you’ll find a lot
of information about how to do simple casting yourself.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View patron's profile

patron

12961 posts in 1942 days


#7 posted 786 days ago

PATTERNMAKER, WOOD (foundry)

Plans, lays out, and constructs wooden unit-or sectional-patterns used in forming sand molds for castings according to blueprint specifications, using handtools and power tools: Lays out pattern on woodstock, dividing pattern into sections according to shape of casting to facilitate removal of pattern from mold, utilizing knowledge of casting techniques, and using marking and measuring devices, such as scriber, shrink rule, and square. Cuts and shapes parts, using bandsaw, lathe, planer, and router. Fits and fastens parts together to form pattern or section, using glue, nails, dowels and screws. Trims, smooths, and shapes surfaces, using handtools, such as plane, drawknife, chisels, and mallets. Assembles sections and verifies dimensions of complete pattern, using templates, straightedges, calipers, and protractors. Glues fillets along interior angles of pattern. Paints pattern in standard code colors to indicate method of assembly. Shellacs, lacquers, or waxes finished pattern. May construct templates for use in shaping irregular curves in pattern [TEMPLATE MAKER (any industry)]. May construct wooden models. May be designated according to type of pattern constructed as Die-Cast Patternmaker (foundry); Die-Lay-Out Worker (foundry). May repair broken or damaged patterns and correct patterns to compensate for defects in castings and be designated Pattern Setter (foundry).

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3557 posts in 2335 days


#8 posted 786 days ago

Thanks, patron! Good stuff there! I’m starting to ‘get it’ now. Loren, thanks for the guidance on values, I have no idea what I’d expect to pay.
Gotta admit, though, a vise 18 inches wide would be one bad-ass addition to anyone’s workbench!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View crank49's profile

crank49

3338 posts in 1572 days


#9 posted 786 days ago

Most large foundries used to have pattern shops where the patterns were made. I say WERE, because the entire industry has been gutted by the EPA, unions, and competetion with cheap slave labor in places like China. I worked in a foundry for 31 years. I designed and built two pattern shops. There used to be a couple dozen foundries within an hours drive of my home. Now there is one.

Another aspect of making patterns is the pattern maker has to allow for shrinkage of the material that is being cast when it solidifies. In the case of iron, it’s about 6%. So, the pattern has to be about 6% larger than the desired finished product.

The pattern also has to be designed to be split in two parts with draft. That is, at least 2 degrees of taper from the parting line so the mold halves, called the cope and drag, can be separated to get the pattern out of the mold.

Pattern makers still have work, but it is now mostly running CNC mills for plastic injection molds. The wood patterns were unique to the metals industry. I have a baby foundry in my basement because I just love the whole process. I now make tiny castings for jewelry.

By the way, that pattern makers vise was sold by Kindt-Collins, a major supplier of pattern making supplies at one time.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View patron's profile

patron

12961 posts in 1942 days


#10 posted 786 days ago

as i understand it

woodworkers
boat builders
pattern makers
piano makers
all the cast iron and gears of old
were made in wood first

(with a 2 deg. ‘mold release’ angle)
and allowance for any machining
after casting and settling)

today with cnc machines
and computer plans
most ‘plugs’ (real part for casting)
can be made by the machine
or the metal directly machined
plugs are for making molds
for multiple pieces
(plastic fiberglass cast metal)

think auto engines
all the parts were made in wood first

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7253 posts in 2248 days


#11 posted 786 days ago

I had an Emmert vise for several years. It lacks a quick-action
feature and so there is a lot of cranking involved in changing
vise set up. They are very robust and the large jaws can clamp
and hold items of substantial weight… as patterns were often
made of solid laminated mahogany this would be a factor in
working on them.

For furniture work the vise certainly has a “biggest, baddest,
and most versatile ever made” type of appeal but it really is
not designed for the type of work most woodworkers do.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

2482 posts in 1377 days


#12 posted 786 days ago

I have seen materials other than wood being used for pattern making – wax, bakelite, plastic/epoxy resin, and in a few cases aluminum.

Historically, wood has been the “go to” material for sand casting. Then you get into the tool and die making.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

3837 posts in 929 days


#13 posted 786 days ago

Patern making can be done on a large scale. When I was an intern at the GM tech. center back in the stone ages, they made 1:1 scale replicas of the auto bodies. When they had the lines exactly as they wanted them, they disassembled the patterns and used them to draft their documents as well as to produce tooling.

CAD has obsoleted most of that process. And now 3D printing rules the day for making fast and accurate blanks for investment casting.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3557 posts in 2335 days


#14 posted 786 days ago

Thanks for all the terrific replies, everyone!
I find it odd that nobody here in LJ has ‘fessed up to being a pattern-making artisan. Step up and be counted! What a noble trade, obsolescent as it is now. Your work helped build a nation.
Let’s see some more replies, this is a whole other dimension of woodworking that is seldom heard about!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1599 days


#15 posted 786 days ago

That looks like a nice vise but can’t say I can see $1500 in it. I picked up my knock off at woodcraft for like $250 including shipping.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase