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.
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.
At 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.
In 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.
Two 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.
Before 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.
Photo Credit: Kyle Shields Photography / firstname.lastname@example.org