As with any new program, this school year saw innovative and exciting opportunities along with a few growing pains. The Engineering I course this year covered a very wide range of experiences and topics. Among the topics covered was an introduction of students to the 2D drawing program AutoCAD along with 3D parametric design software packages Inventor and Solidworks. AutoCAD is the gold standard for 2-dimensional drawing throughout the world.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Dale Quattrin and I am the instructor for the new Michigan State Department of Education-approved Engineering courses being taught at Bridgman High School.
As with any new program, this school year saw innovative and exciting opportunities along with a few growing pains. The Engineering I course this year covered a very wide range of experiences and topics. Among the topics covered was an introduction of students to the 2D drawing program AutoCAD along with 3D parametric design software packages Inventor and Solidworks. AutoCAD is the gold standard for 2-dimensional drawing throughout the world. Inventor and Solidworks are among the most commonly used 3-dimensional design software products worldwide in both large and small industries. In addition, through The Infinity Project Curriculum developed by Southern Methodist University Engineering College, Texas Instruments, and National Instruments, the course investigated engineering through the lens of the digital world (e.g, digital sound, digital images). We started the year by reviewing several different fields of engineering. In addition, we investigated the significant historical, social, cultural, impact of engineering and engineering innovations on human existence. Delving into the implications of Moore’s Law through lecture and labs, the students were made aware of the how quickly the total body of human knowledge about the universe doubles (less than 18 months), the wide range of fields impacted, and the future innovations emerging from this knowledge.
As part of a set of virtual labs, the students wrote software programs using the Labview System-Design Platform by National Instruments. A year-long project by the students was the building of two SeeMeCNC Rostock Max V.2 3D printers from a set of kits. Both printers are assembled and working with the final calibrations being completed. The flexibility of these devices will add a fun and interesting element to the manufacturing processes experienced by engineering students. Thanks to Mr. Kevin Kreitner from Lake Michigan College, the students also got their hands dirty in the BHS machine shop learning the basics of vertical mills, lathes, and drill presses. The future of the engineering program looks bright. This summer will see the beginning of a multi-year project where significant changes will be occurring in the high school machine shop. Additional newly purchased machinery, equipment from the Reed Middle School shop, the high school wood shop, and mills on permanent loan from Lake Michigan College will be integrated into the high school machine shop facility.
The older equipment is also being inspected, repaired and/or upgraded as needed. The goal is to have a fully functioning engineering CAD/FAB lab that will provide students with a wide range of experiences covering the complete design, manufacturing, programming, and assembly process. With this in mind, the initial offering of an Engineering II course during the 2016-2017 school year will implement and expand on the foundations established during the Engineering I course. The students will, among other projects, design, build, manufacture, program, and compete with Arduino -based robots. One goal is for the Engineering I and II students to gain numerous experiences that will more fully expand and develop the Bridgman High School involvement in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team. The Gearheads (Team 5745), jointly run with River Valley, is the Bridgman High School level program of the FIRST organization that spans the full K-12 range (FIRSTinspires.org). The younger levels are now being introduced at Reed Middle School. This has been a fun, exciting, and evolving year. I look forward the many exciting challenges next year as well.