Fab Lab students may be supplying parts to local manufacturer

Jose Valades and David Vegter make their sales pitch to Precision Plus engineers and foremen. Click pic for more images in our gallery.

Students in the DDHS Engineering Design and Development course may soon find themselves in a business relationship with Elkhorn manufacturer Precision Plus.

The students in the class were asked to come up with a solution for creating new machinery labeling and identification tag at the company, which creates Swiss-turned parts for other business, industrial and manufacturing needs.

Over time, many of the machines’ ID tags have become worn, said Mike Fellin, DDHS technical education teacher. The company approached the school about having the new DDHS Fab Lab come up with solutions for the machinery tag needs.

Fellin had the class split up into groups and officials from Precision Plus had an “screening” of the ideas. Later, two groups were invited back to the company to make more formal “pitches” to sell their ideas to Precision Plus. If chosen, the students will be responsible for making the tagging products on the Fab Lab’s equipment, which includes 3-D printers, vinyl cutters, laser engravers and other high-tech tools.

The two groups the presented to Precision Plus were:

  • Seniors Nathan Johnson and Pablo Cook, who called their “company” Comet Innovations, and;
  • Senior David Vegter and junior Jose Valades, who called their “company” TAGGIT.

“That’s what that class is about; using our machines to fabricate parts,” Fellin said. “This project gave our kids the chance to take ideas and run with them, to find solutions and then pitch them to the company. We are hopeful the company will employ us to make the designs for their needs.”

Regardless of the company’s decision, Precision Plus has been a strong advocate of the Delavan-Darien High School Fab Lab and a longtime supporter of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in our schools.

This opportunity was just another example of the company’s great support of public education and our students.

Another Cool Fab Lab Creation

Senior Josh Pickel also got to present a creation of his own for the Precision Plus engineers and foremen.

At the high school, spare parts for interior doorknob hardware is hard to come by as the existing door handles are no longer manufactured, Fellin said.

A plastic part inside each door knob can wear out over time, causing the knobs to malfunction.

Those pieces cannot be bought anywhere anymore, so Pickel reverse engineered them using Computer Aided Design software and the Fab Lab’s 3-D printers.

The district has repaired about a half-dozen door handles because of Pickel’s work.

“It’s really incredible what he was able to accomplish and it will benefit the school,” Fellin said. It may also help save the school money as it won’t have to replace and re-key door knobs if they fail because of the worn or broken plastic parts inside of them.

Following the presentations by Pickel and the two groups, the students and Fellen were given a tour of the Precision Plus factory in Elkhorn.

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324 Beloit St. Delavan, WI 53115 www.ddschools.org
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