A team of mechanical engineering technology students at Pitt State competed in a global competition to build Marvel superhero Thor’s hammer. After performance tests, the team was declared winners of the 2021 Cast in Steel Competition by the Steel Founders Society of America.
All mechanical engineering technology majors, the team included spring graduate Jacob Tiehen, seniors Jacob Otter and Colton Southwell who will both graduate in December, and seniors Austin Jacks and Kolton Darrow.
“This global competition brought in 27 different teams who all had impressive hammers,” Jacks said. “However, we knew our hammer had a good chance of making it to the finals and I couldn’t have been more excited when they announced that Pittsburg State had won. It really made the last couple of months of hard work on the hammer worth the time we put into it.”
Each member of the team will be awarded a $500 scholarship from the Steel Founders Society Educational Foundation.
“…The challenge of the competition was to create a casting that not only represented Thor’s hammer but also one that was functional for anybody to swing,” Jacks said. “Multiple design alterations were required to achieve this result but once achieved we were able to start manufacturing. Our team (made) 3D printed 8 models of the hammer that were sent off to be cast. After casting, the hammers were heat treated and the best casting was chosen for further manufacturing. After several weeks of numerous hand finishing processes, our team was able to assemble a hammer ready to be sent in for testing.”
The design and manufacturing process started in January and ended in April of 2021.
“For me, I already really enjoy metal casting and love to compete,” Jacks said. “Although when I heard that Forged in Fire’s own judge Ben Abbot was to be judging this competition as well, I knew we had to submit a hammer that would represent Pittsburg State well. The scale of this event was so much larger than anything else I’d been a part of and knowing that just made me want to work harder than before. The competition gave us a chance to represent ourselves as well as our school and I couldn’t have been more thankful for the experience. If I learned one thing from this competition it was that it’s where I’m meant to be and I’m already looking forward to next year’s competition.”
In past years, PSU students have competed in the competition and won other awards. In 2019, a PSU team won “Most Captivating Design” for a Viking axe, and in 2020, a PSU team won “Best Cast Guard and Pommel” for a Bowie knife.
Jacks thanked everyone for the work put in that made their product possible as well as additional help that the team received from PSU engineering professor Russell Rosmait and sponsors Monett Metals, Trojan Heat Treat, and World Class Prototypes.
“…Thank you so much to everyone involved and we’re looking forward to… (representing) Pittsburg State again in next… (year’s) competition.”