Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Engineering Technology

Committee Chair

Dr. Craig Johnson

Second Committee Member

Dr. John Choi

Third Committee Member

Professor Charles Pringle


Pneumatic Gripper for Cast Products

By: Jacob VanBlaricom

Mentors: Craig Johnson (, Kurt Gray ( ),

Ted Bramble ( , Travis Lamberte ( )

The Team was tasked by NorthStar Casteel to create a device that would allow for easy mobility and manipulation of unfinished cast products. The device is needed to increase manufacturing time and decrease worker strain. In order to do this the team designed a custom gripper to match the castings produced at this facility. The gripper was powered by a pneumatic system due to the speed and reliability in this environment. Design choices were guided by Kurt Gray at NorthStar, as well as other employees and listed mentors and CWU. A 3D printed pattern was manufactured in order for a cast gripper jaw to be manufactured. The pattern went through various modifications of size and 3D print properties such as raft and infill. After a successful pattern was printed, the jaw was cast and assembled at NorthStar’s facility. The jaws were assembled to a pneumatic angular gripper with a 32 bore in order to lift the 50-80lb castings. This system was mounted to an electric chain hoist previously available at the NorthStar facility. Testing was conducted at this facility to determine the viability of this design. Testing yielded results that suggested the overall finishing time for a given casting was reduced by 20%. Additionally, a questionnaire provided to employees regarding the new equipment allowed the team to determine the effect it had on employee toll. 90% of the questioned employees stated that the pneumatic system allowed for a less tiresome workday, verifying that the system solved the original problem.

Keywords: Pneumatic, Pattern (casting), infill, Raft (3D printing)

Source Poster.pptx (3914 kB)