Small Models for High Grades

Showing that “smaller can be better,” students in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology classroom at Hudson Valley Community College have been creating incredibly detailed scale models including 1:6 scale radio-controlled Abrams battle tanks, Stuart Twin Victoria air engines, and Stuart Twin Cylinder Score air engines with magnetic bearings. These are labeled “Capstone” projects by HVCC’s Professor David Larkin and display the CAD/CAM knowledge and CNC manufacturing skills gained by the students during the two-year program at HVCC, effectively “capping off” their education.

Over the past 20 years, Prof. Larkin has revamped the senior program into the Capstone program, concentrating on teamwork to design and build intricate models. By the third semester, they are learning Mastercam® CAD/CAM software as well as manual programming for the nine Haas CNC lathes and machining centers in their shop facility. This is when they begin machining their Capstone project parts. The Mastercam lab has forty CAD/CAM stations, loaded with user-friendly X6 software that provides the students with enhanced milling and turning capabilities.

This year, the Capstone project consists of a Stuart Half Beam air engine running a Haas belt-driven manual lathe. Every component, other than fasteners, is designed in Mastercam and machined on the shop facility’s Haas CNC mills and lathes. Fourteen thousand hours are required to complete all the units. By the time they are through, the students will have become proficient in CAD, CAM, manual machining, CNC machining and metallurgy skills, leading to excellent employment opportunities.

This article was featured on the cover of the October 2013 issue of Tech Directions. You can view the entire article and issue of Tech Directions by clicking here.

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