Woodworking Goes High Tech at PSU
One of the leading woodworking programs in the United States is housed in the quarter-million-square foot Kansas Technology Center at Pittsburg State University, where the Wood Technology program prepares students for a career in the secondary wood products industry. This is the field that concentrates on the design and production of everything wood, from furniture and cabinetry to window and door frames, moulding, and just about all else in the consumer, commercial and industrial markets. The department’s equipment includes 4-axis and 5-axis CNC routers, a CNC moulder, and thirty seats of Mastercam in their CAD/CAM lab for creating the tool path programs for the machinery.
According to Doug Hague, Program Coordinator for Wood Tech, they stay current with software upgrades and are currently using the new X7. He says that Dustin Spieth is their go-to guy at Mastercam and that he is always available for support and training. While freshmen and sophomores learn the basics of G and M codes, it is in their junior year that they are introduced to computer applications in cabinet making, using Mastercam to design and complete CNC programs for making frameless cabinetry, followed by advanced practices of 3D CAD/CAM.
As seniors, the students are immersed in furniture manufacturing, with 100% of each project requiring Mastercam programming. Several students then tackle 5-axis Mastercam work for the 5-axis router and, according to Mr. Hague, “really have fun.”