State Champions in Automated Manufacturing-One Way To Motivate Students….

I am a big believer that if you give students a practical challenge they will take more interest in developing skills needed to be successful in the manufacturing areas.  A prime example of this is having students get involved with the SkillsUSA’s Automated Manufacturing Contest.  This contest consists of a three person team that had each member specialize in a certain task.

The first team member is specializes in CAD -his job was to draw a model of the parts given to the team and then correctly layout and dimension them to industry standards.  He is also given part revisions throughout the contest so these changes needed to be documented in their working drawings also.

The 2nd Team members job was to take the parts drawn by the CAD person and then develop tool paths using CAD/CAM .  This student used MasterCAM and did a series of surfaces, contours, and pockets needed to machine the parts.  The student also was evaluated on how efficient his tool paths were in machine operations.

The last team member’s job was to set up and run the part on a CNC mill.  Using a machinist vice and edge finder, the student found the correct zero points and then calculated feeds and speeds of the tools being used.  This is an important position because the multiple parts fit together and have machined features on multiple sides.

This was the 2nd year for these team members to compete in this contest.  They placed 2nd in 2013 and since that day they made a commitment to learn more about all aspects of Drafting and Manufacturing.  Their extra work had paid off!  They placed high in the CAD, CAD/CAM, and precision portions of the contest along with great test scores in areas related to math and G-CODE programing.

I would encourage all educators to have students try a contest like this…It covers a lot of different skill areas of manufacturing along with creating a desire to learn.  In 2013 I won a ShopBot Desktop mill by entering an essay contest- my goal was to have students gain a passion for automated manufacturing/CNC like I have seen in a past school that I taught in.  I can definitely say that having students compete in this contest has again been a successful teaching experience for me… I would encourage you to do the same!

2014 Iowa State SkillsUSA State Champs

2014 Iowa State SkillsUSA  Champions

One of three parts made

One of three parts made

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