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facilities and in the fall of 2014 happened upon Acra Cast, Bay City, Michigan, a small, 20-em- ployee investment caster. Together, Pizzuti and Acra


Cast are working to introduce a new kind of mask to football. It looks cool, and more importantly, they say it’s safer. It was due to hit markets in June, which they hope will be a milestone in football safety and maybe preserve the future of America’s favorite sport. But before that, a lot of work was necessary.


Casting the Mask Pizzuti came to Richard


A completed helmet is shown, with a visor and Zuti face mask.


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Singer, president, Acra Cast, with some sketches and an idea but it needed much more development. Singer knew they needed some- thing in the 3D CAD format and sent Pizzuti to an engineering firm in Saginaw, Michigan, that had performed some finite ele- ment analysis work for Acra Cast. After Pizzuti did that and came


back with designs, they continued to consult engineers on the use of fi llets, where to place the gat- ing and other items to improve castability. T e 3D rapid prototyp- ing was subcontracted to Express Prototyping in Almont, Michigan. Material was removed, the diame- ter was trimmed and other parts of the mask were modifi ed to achieve weight targets and address other additional issues to make it more practical for use. T e fi nal mask weighs between 1 and 1.25 lbs. and measures 9 x 7 x 6 in. “T ere were quite a few versions


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over the course of several years, and even today, if we were to develop a new concept we’re still going to prototype those fi rst to see how they cast and run them through the testing,” Singer said. “T ere’s virtually no diff erence once we go to a rubber mold and a wax pattern in the test performance of a casting made off a printed pattern vs. a poured wax pattern. So we’re still


Photo courtesy of Richard Singer.


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