Story of a Part

Ryan Gardner


Over 70 students from the area attended a Michigan SmartCoast event hosted at OMT Veyhl and sponsored by Consumers Credit Union. Disher Design and Lakeshore Advantage also helped support the event. “The Story of a Part” highlighted the interesting steps a part follows from idea to production. OMT-Veyhl and Disher Design collaborated to design a real part for the event.

SC-5 The first half of the event, students walked through 3 design workshops: a whiteboard session, concept refinement, and CAD development. Following that was a factory tour of OMT Veyhl USA Corp.

The Sessions

Idea to Concept. In an abbreviated Disher-patented Whiteboard Wednesday session, the initial design goal was stated: “To create a cool and functional giveaway for students that can be produced at OMT Veyhl.” Once boundaries and inspirations were in place, the ideas started rolling. Students sketched on notepads and whiteboards, while Disher industrial designers and engineers sketched alongside them.

SC-4At the end of the event, the windows and walls in the sketch studio were covered in sketches. Then, the Disher team shared what the final sketch output had been of the original brainstorm held with OMT-Veyhl, and this sketch was sent to the second phase of the design process, Concept Refinement.

SC-3Concept Refinement. Students were given a big red pen and briefed on manufacturing requirements and safety standards to determine positive changes in the concept.

SC-6In groups of 5, students huddled around the sketch and took their best shots at improving the design. Here the concept took drastic changes to make the design more functional, safer for the user, and less wasteful in the manufacturing process. OMT-Veyhl design and manufacturing engineers led the session, and again shared the output of the actual part design done by OMT-Veyhl and Disher Design at this stage in the process.

CAD and Prototyping. In the final stage of the design process students were walked through the CAD process by a senior design engineer at OMT-Veyhl. They were able to ask questions about his experience and techniques, and were also able to navigate in both SolidWorks and SolidEdge with the final part model up.

SC-7Two 3D printers made by Makerbot printed prototypes during the demo. The prototypes helped determine scale, ergonomics, and final placement of components. The final design was a “SmartCoaster:” A laser-cut metal coaster with a Michigan graphic, English and metric rulers, and a protractor, making the part both cool and functional.

Tour of OMT-Veyhl

To finish the part’s story, the event’s second half was a factory tour of OMT-Veyhl. During the tour students got to see the “SmartCoaster” that they followed through the design process being cut real-time on their new Mazak fiber laser-cutting machine.

SC-9Before the event, hundreds of these SmartCoasters were cut and powder-coated in-house at OMT Veyhl’s state-of-the-art facility. Each student that attended the event was able to bring one of the SmartCoasters home with them, as well as a good understanding of what it took to bring that part to life.

Author: Ryan Gardner

Photo Credit: Kyle Shields Photography / kyshphy@gmail.com

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