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Avoiding "Cake Fails"

We are all familiar with the “cake fails” memes, often where someone shows the cake they ordered and expected versus what they actually got, which ended up being a disaster. Or, the decorator took down the instructions too literally and delivered a cake that reads: “Best Wishes Suzanne Underneath that We Will Miss You.”

These fails are pretty funny after the fact, to people unaffected by the mishap. But for those who ordered the cakes—they could be day-ruiners. The question is, how did the cake go so wrong?

In this issue of Casting Source, several articles address how to avoid “cake fails” in your casting orders. First, you need to make sure your supplier is capable of doing what you ask. In Dave Charbauski’s column on page 10, he talks about the engineering capabilities to look for when selecting a foundry. These functions are signs the casting supplier has the process control and design skills necessary to consistently produce quality parts. This is not an amateur baker with two whisks and a spatula, but a seasoned pastry chef with professional-grade mixer.  

Second, you need to communicate clearly what your expectation is—what constitutes an acceptable casting delivery. In “Setting Expectations Through Specification” on page 34, the AFS Institute shares the must-know basics of creating specifications for your casting order and communicating those needs to the supplier. This process should also include input from the foundry indicating they are on the same page as you. Be listening for feedback that might indicate what’s dictated in the specification may not yield the expected result.

Specifications should be clear as well as customized to the job. What properties are needed for this casting’s application, specifically? Which abnormalities—and at what level—would cause a casting to be rejected? Do you want an exact number of piped rosettes on your cake or somewhere between 10 and 14?

Obviously, sourcing a new engineered component is more complicated than ordering a cake, but for both, excellent communication is the path to clear success...and escape from a “fail.”   CS