Project: Halligan Bar
Table of Contents
Cast in Steel 2024 competition challenges university students to use modern casting tools to creatively design and produce a functioning version of a Halligan bar – a multipurpose tool used by firefighters to gain access to building spaces, vehicles, and for a multitude of other emergency uses.
Designed by and named for New York City Fire Department First Deputy Chief Hugh Halligan in 1948, the Halligan consists of a bar with claw or fork, a blade (wedge or adze), and a tapered pick. Some feature a sliding weight for hammering the bar into a gap to facilitate prying.
This year, teams do not have to stick closely to the traditional design of the Halligan bar, but can modify or optimize the design to improve its utility while performing the functions that the Halligan bar is used for by firefighters.
Each bar will be put through a series of tests appropriate to the application. You can expect your bar to be tested in prying, punching, twisting and striking. All submissions should include your Halligan bar, a project video and technical report documenting the design and manufacturing process.
Teams will perform all aspects of creating a new Halligan bar exploiting the casting manufacturing process from design conception to performance. All four (4) components of the project should be submitted. All students must:
- Provide a preliminary plan (one page)
- Rough outline of steps
- Tentative timeframe
- Questions/issues they need to address
- Preliminary decisions they’ve made (type of steel, casting process, etc.)
- Make their version of a Halligan bar
- Your bar should weigh no more than 6 kg (13.2 lbs.).
- Your bar should not be longer than 1m (40 in.) in overall length.
- Document their project with a professional Technical Report of less than 30 pages supporting their decisions.
- Produce a Project Video, not to exceed 5 minutes, that documents their project.
All project components submitted for the competition become property of SFSA.
- Student teams who will design, build, and test their Halligan bar. At least one member must be a current college student. Teams are limited to 8 members.
- A university faculty sponsor to help the team.
- An industrial partner familiar with steel castings.
- Including one high school student on the team is encouraged. If the team has a high school student, they should also submit an addition to their report from the student about what they learned, less than two pages.
Each Halligan Bar entry will be eligible for 5 awards and a Grand Prize:
- Best Design and Process ($250/student)
- Best Halligan Bar design for the form, fit and functions but the team can use any materials they wish for their entry (in addition to cast steel). ($250/student)
- Best Casting- this will have two categories this year; sand casting or investment casting and a winner will be selected for each category. ($250/student)
- Best Project Video documenting the project. ($250/student)
- Best Performance based on testing and expert evaluation. ($250/student)
NEW: Grand Champion Team will receive an additional $5,000 for the University sponsor, the student chapter or the program that sponsored the team.
Prize money is capped at:
- $500/student for teams with 2-5 students
- $4000/team for teams with more than 5 students or more than one first place.
Grand Prize based on the top 5 rankings from 1-5 above. Weighting of the scores will be (1) Design and Process 25%, (2) Halligan Bar Utility 15%, (3) Casting 25%, (4) Video 10%, and (5) Performance 25%
Important Events and Submission Dates
|Monday, August 7, 2023
|Friday, December 1, 2023
|Proposed teams, and preliminary plan due.
|Friday, March 29, 2024
|Project video, technical report, and Halligan Bar due.
|Monday, April 22, 2024*
|Cast in Steel performance testing in Milwaukee, WI.
|Tuesday, April 23, 2024
|Awards Ceremony in Milwaukee, WI.
*For the testing on Monday, April 22, teams, and mentors are highly encouraged to attend and compete with their Halligan Bar. We also encourage you to stay for the Awards Ceremony.
Reminder…your Halligan Bar is due by March 29th.
- If it arrives after March 29th, the package must be postmarked on or before March 29th to be considered as on time.
- If your package isn’t postmarked by March 29th or you bring your bar with you, to the competition, you can compete but will not be eligible to win. No exception!
All electronic submissions should be sent to Renee Mueller at email@example.com.
Send your Halligan Bar to:
780 McArdle Drive, Suite G
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Technical Report Must Contain:
Your technical report must not exceed 30 pages. (This will include your cover page and resources pages so clear and concise writing is necessary)
- Cover Page:
- Must use the outline of this cover page. An example cover page is included in the document.
- Address the following:
- State the reason for the competition: “SFSA has created this competition to encourage students to learn about making steel products using the casting process and applying the latest technology available”. This should be in the introduction of your Technical Report.
- *Explain any unique design features or strategies that improve the utility of your Halligan bar over any other.
- *Your design process and the steps you took to get to your final product.
- *Your final results should show that it meets contest requirements (state the final length, weight, and materials of your Halligan Bar).
*Present each in the one-page executive summary as part of your technical report.
- Other suggested topics that can be addressed in your technical report:
- What metallurgical decisions were made with respect to your Halligan Bar.
- What type of casting process was selected, what led you to that decision, and the casting process steps you used while creating your Halligan Bar.
- What kind of inspection and testing your Halligan Bar were subjected to before submission.
Are you ready to compete? CLICK HERE to register your team for the CIS 2024 competition.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How many teams can one school compete with?
As many as you like and you could have a team compete in casting, forging and additive this year
- In the following years of the competition, will having at least one high school student be mandatory?
- A student is interested in using titanium for the Halligan Bar, would that be allowed?
- Does it have to be cast in one continuous piece, or could it be cast as two sections and welded together?
As in past competition, those are decisions for the team to make. The casting requirement is only that you explain in the technical report how you optimized the design and utility by using the casting process and the judges evaluate the best casting which would include the design choices.
- Can the bar contain non-metal parts, specifically in the handle and its grip?
Yes, the design is up to you and the use of materials. It will be useful for you to watch the first and subsequent podcasts on the Halligan bar to see the prior experience with materials and design.
- With there being many uses for the Halligan bar, what materials should we expect this Halligan Bar to be used on?
Unexpectedly, the extreme circumstances confronting fire fighters and EMTs the gain access to people in distress leads to Halligan bar uses that are capable of bending or even breaking the bar. While the initial tests will be suitable to evaluate the utility and function of the bars, the finalists will face tests designed to evaluate the durability and limits on those bars. The YouTube podcasts will discuss some of the uses and reasons for failure.
- In Milwaukee, where is the conference specifically being held (so we can arrange hotel and travel plans)?
The 2024 CIS will be held in the area of the Grohmann Museum. Not sure what your budget is, but, The Drury Hotel downtown Milwaukee is walking distance and has free hot breakfast, free snacks and cold beverages at the 5:30 Kickback.
- How is the bar’s functionality being judged specifically?
The bar’s functionality will be evaluated based on the team’s use of the bar to accomplish a routine function expected in use.
- Will there be components of the judging based on mechanical numerical testing or mostly from the human component of how it feels to work with and ease of use?
The judging will include all aspects of the bar including its functionality, durability and apparent quality. No mechanical tests will be done and no quantitative tests. The tests will be similar to the type of tests used regularly on Forged in Fire.
- Are there any restrictions on use of outside resources?
There are no restrictions on using outside resources. We expect you to use anything and anyone to be as successful as you can.
- How many teams can one school compete with?
- View the 2023 competition – African Spear Point
- View the 2022 competition – Celtic Leaf Sword
- View the 2021 competition – Thor’s Hammer
- View the 2020 competition – Bowie Knife
- View the 2019 competition – Viking Axe
- Wikipedia article – Halligan bar
- Fire Engineering – The Ins and Outs of the Halligan
- Canadian Firefighter – The indispensible halligan
- Department of Homeland Security – Breaching and Breaking Tools (BBTs)
- Irons and Ladders – Posts tagged “halligan”
- New York City Fire Department Forcible Entry Reference Guide – Techniques and Procedures
- Not all Halligan Bars are Created Equal
- Mechanical Advantage of the Halligan Bar
- Halligan as a Striking Tool Quick Tip: Hand Placement
- Halligan Bar: Creating purchase point for your adz (solo firefighter, inward opening door)
- Axe Firefighter Hand Placement (Conventional Forcible Entry)
- Halligan Bar Physics
- Firefighter Forcible Entry: Pulling Hinges from a Metal Door and Jamb
- Inward Swinging Metal Door w/ Drop Bars – IRONS and LADDERS
- The Incredible Origin of the Firefighter’s Halligan Bar