Professor sails into business

December 6, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — University of Wisconsin-Platteville industrial studies professor, Dr. Kyle Metzloff, incorporates his love of sailing and his work in manufacturing to build model sailboats. Since 1993, he has completed more than 120 models of Scow racing sailboats.

As a child, Metzloff built model sailboats from plastic and wood.  After attending college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and participating in the Hoofer Sailing Club, Metzloff incorporated his training in manufacturing to build his first model of one of his own boats. Upon seeing his work, another member of the club requested a model, and he has been building ever since.

Metzloff’s models are exact replicas of customers’ boats, with details so fine a microscope is needed to see them. “People appreciate that the detail is so accurate,” he said. “It’s what sets my models apart from others.” Metzloff also uses thermoforming to shape the sails to look like they are held by the wind, a technique not used by other modelers. 

The techniques Metzloff uses to build his models are also used by students in his classes. “In the metals manufacturing lab on campus, students can pour molten metal, and forge, machine, and weld metal into specific shapes” he said. “I use the same processes to build my models, only on a microscopic level.” To achieve this, Metzloff has custom built much of his equipment.  

Metzloff includes a personal touch on each of his models. On the bottom of every model he writes a message to his two children. “If my kids ever see one of my models, they can flip it over and there will be a message from me to them,” he said.

In addition to making models for private use, Metzloff has made many trophies for various sailing competitions, including the World Championship trophy and Manly Haynes trophy for the Pewaukee Yacht Club. Each model costs between $2,000 and $5,000, and takes an average of 100 hours to assemble, not including the time required to make the parts.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/MetzloffModelYachts.  

Contact: Dr. Kyle Metzloff, industrial studies, (608) 342-1142, metzlofk@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Nicole Smith, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, smithnico@uwplatt.edu

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