Additive In Steel Competition

The 2024 Additive in Steel (AIS) Competition challenges college students to use modern additive processes to creatively design and produce a functioning version of a Halligan Bar – a multipurpose tool used by firefighters and first responders to gain access to building spaces, vehicles, and a number of other emergency uses.

The Halligan Bar

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 of the traditional Halligan Bar. 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 a technical report documenting the design and manufacturing process.

Competition Requirements

Teams will perform all aspects of creating a new Halligan Bar exploiting the additive manufacturing (AM) process from design conception to performance. AM should be used to make the metal portions of the bar. Post-processing is allowed, and the steps should be documented in the technical report.

Each submission shall be composed of 4 components and include the following:

  1. Provide a preliminary plan (1 page).
    • Rough outline of steps.
    • Tentative timeframe.
    • Questions/issues to address.
    • Preliminary decisions made (alloy used, additive process, etc.).
  2. Make a version of a Halligan Bar.
    • Your club should weigh no more than 6 kg (13.2 lbs.).
    • Your club should not be longer than 1 m (40 in.) in overall length
  1. Technical Report of less than 30 pages supporting the decision-making process.
  2. Produce a Project Video, not to exceed 5 minutes, that documents the project.

All project components submitted for the competition become the property of America Makes.

Eligibility & Awards

Teams must have:

  1. Student teams will design, build, and test their Halligan Bar. At least one member must be a current college student. Teams are limited to 8 members.
  2. A college faculty sponsor to help the team.
  3. An industrial partner familiar with steel metallurgy and additive manufacturing.
  4. Including a high school student on the team is encouraged, but not required. If the team has a high school student, they should also submit an addition to their report from the student about what they learned (2 pages).

Each Halligan Bar entry will be eligible for 5 awards and a Grand Prize:

  1. Best Design and Process ($250/student)
  2. Best Authentic Halligan Bar design for the form, fit, and functions but the team can use any materials they wish for entry. ($250/student)
  3. Best Casting – this will have two categories: sand casting or investment casting and a winner will be selected for each category ($250/student)
  4. Best Project Video documenting the project. ($250/student)
  5. Best Performance based on testing and expert evaluation. ($250/student)

Grand Prize based on the top 5 rankings from 1-5 above. The weighting of the scores will be (1) Design and Process 25%, (2) Halligan Bar Authenticity 15%, (3) Additive 25%, (4) Video 10%, and (5) Performance 25%

Technical Report Requirements

Your technical report must not exceed 30 pages. (This will include your cover page and resources pages so clear and concise writing is necessary)

  1. Cover Page:
    • Must use the outline of this cover page. An example is also included here for review.
  1. Address the following:
    • State the reason for the competition: “America Makes has created this competition to encourage students to learn about making steel products using additive manufacturing processes and applying the latest technology available.” This should be in the introduction of your Technical Report.
    • The historical background and accuracy of your Halligan Bar and explain why your Halligan Bar is authentic.*
    • Your design process and the steps to get to your final product.*
    • Your results should show the submission meets the 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.

  1. 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 additive manufacturing process was selected, what led you to that decision, and the process steps used while creating your Halligan Bar.
    • What kind of inspection and testing your Halligan Bar were subjected to before submission.

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit HERE

Other Questions? Teams are asked to email

Important Dates/Deadlines

 Tuesday, August 15, 2023  Competition Announcement
 Friday, December 1, 2023  Proposed teams, preliminary plan due
 Friday, March 29, 2024  Project video, technical report due
 Friday, March 29, 2024  Halligan Bar due
 Thursday, April 26, 2024*  Performance testing, awards (Milwaukee, WI)
 *Teams are encouraged to attend and compete with their project

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit HERE

Questions? Contact Us! Please email America Makes at
Mail Halligan Bar to: Attn. Renee Mueller, SFSA, 780 McArdle Dr., Suite G, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Ready to get started and join the 2024 AIS Competition?