Category: Students

Mason Petersen Named MMET Department Scholar

Congratulations to MMET student Mason Petersen!

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MMET) is pleased to announce that Mason Petersen has been selected as the 2022 MMET Department Scholar.

“Mason is a Mechanical Engineering Technology student who just completed his third year at Michigan Tech. He enjoys working with his hands on automotive and industrial machine projects,” says John Irwin, MMET department chair. 

“Once Mason challenged himself by purchasing a fully deconstructed motorcycle to reassemble, and with the help of a service manual and internet forums, he completed the build. This allowed him to analyze the engineering design features behind the motorcycle’s engine as well as establish priceless problem-solving skills for use later in his career,” adds Irwin.

Last year, Petersen served as R&D intern at International Woodworking Technologies (IWT) where he led the design and creation of a prototype for a new particle board concept. He applied numerous skills learned in his MMET courses at Michigan Tech, such as stress analysis and designing for manufacturability. While at IWT, Petersen worked closely with local machine and fabrication shops to produce parts for the prototype. This experience built the foundation for his understanding of process flow in the manufacturing industry.

This past year, Petersen’s leadership qualities were on display as treasurer and assistant coach of the Michigan Tech Men’s Rugby Football Club. He applied accounting skills and managed the budget for expenses, such as field maintenance, traveling, and game fees. He also leaned heavily on his communication and teamwork skills, and helped teammates train. 

Petersen is also involved with the Advanced Metalworks Enterprise (AME) team, where he collaborates with peers and Enterprise team advisor, MMET Assistant Professor David Labyak, to implement industry 4.0 technology into the Michigan Tech foundry. This includes adopting modern methods for monitoring molten metals as well as monitoring the moisture of the sand used for casting molds.

This summer, Petersen is working as an intern at General Motors focusing on engineering design in GM’s Cranktrain, Fuel Delivery, and Lubrication department. “This experience in the corporate environment will further develop Mason’s engineering skills,” notes Irwin. 

After graduation, Petersen plans on pursuing a MS in Mechatronics, and aspires to establish a business that provides automation solutions to manufacturing and production companies.

ZRP Memorial Scholarship Challenge: Cookie Cutter Contest Winners Announced

Hey, did someone take a bite out of that wrench? Cookies made by MMET Administrative Aide Pammi Washuleski.

The second annual Zachary Richard Podkul Memorial Scholarship Challenge at Michigan Tech has come to its (delicious) completion.

Students in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology set out to design a cookie cutter, one that the department could send out to prospective students, employers and alumni. Students were also required to provide an NX CAD assembly model of the process used to manufacture the cookie cutter.

This 3D CAD assembly model was provided to the students as a guide for size and configuration.

If you ever wondered how cookie cutters are made, just take a look at this YouTube video, which helped serve as the inspiration for the challenge. The sponsors, Richard and Cathy Podkul, wanted to honor their late son Zachary with a design contest that incorporated his passions for both cooking and machine design. The contest was announced in late fall semester, and students began their thought process on what to design.

During the spring semester, sophomore mechanical engineering technology (MET) students enroll in a parametric 3D CAD modeling course that teaches how to use Siemens NX CAD modeling software. Many of the students enrolled in this parametric modeling course submitted entries for the cookie cutter contest.

To help get them started, students were provided with a 3D CAD assembly model as a guide for size and configuration. Later this design was substituted with a wrench shape to use as a prototype—something that could be used by students to test and see how the cookie cutter assembly operates prior to submitting their own entries.

MMET machine shop student workers—with assistance from Master Machinist Scott Meneguzzo and Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nick Hendrickson—produced a working model of the cookie cutter manufacturing fixture. After two design iterations of the 3D printed pushers connected to the clamps, the first, successful wrench-shaped “test” cookie cutter was produced.

A working model of the wrench cookie cutter set-up
Wrench-shaped cookie cutter manufacturing set-up
Some wrench-shaped cookie cutters!

The material used for the cutter is a thin strip of brass, cut to the precise circumference of the cutter outline. It is then formed into a hoop, spot welded together, and tempered for formability. Each clamp is manually operated and each has a 2,500 pound holding force. The cookie cutter form in the center was 3D printed on the Fortus 400MC Stratasys 3D Printer, located in the MMET department’s Polymeric Additive Manufacturing Facility

Many interesting cookie cutters designs were evaluated by the contest judges for the following qualities: 1) Parametric⁠—3D CAD model(s) utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features and fully constrained parts in the assembly; 2) Originality—a unique and innovative design; 3) Optimized—minimized use of material, while not compromising strength; 4) Manufacturability—the part’s ability to be easily formed in manufacturing fixture; and finally 5) Ease of use—the manufacturing design is ergonomic and simple to use.

The results? Three students tied for second place in the contest. They were Ben Engle, who designed a gear-shaped cookie cutter; Luz Aparicio, who designed a lightbulb, and Patrick Moeller, who designed a Lift Bridge cookie cutter.

Second Place: a gear-shaped cookie cutter submitted by MET student Ben Engle (3-way tie for second place)
Second Place: a lightbulb-shaped cookie cutter submitted by MET student Luz Aparicio (3-way tie for second place)
Second Place: a Lift Bridge cookie cutter designed by MET student Patrick Moeller (3-way tie for second place)

In the end, the contest yielded the first-place winning cookie cutter, Hunter Wilke’s design, also in the shape of the Portage Lift Bridge.

First Place: a Lift Bridge cookie cutter designed by MET student Hunter Wilke. Congratulations!
The winning cookie cutter form is at the center of the manufacturing set-up. See the brass cookie cutter beneath.

All the winners were presented certificates at an awards ceremony on April 19, which was the celebration of Zachary’s birthday.

The next challenge for the Podkuls, together with Michigan Tech MMET department faculty, will be to develop an idea for the 3rd Annual ZRP Memorial Scholarship! With Zachary’s love of cooking, the outdoors and nature, writing, poetry, and his curiosity for discovering how things worked, it could be just about anything!

Congratulating the 2022 ZRP Memorial Scholarship Challenge winners! From L to R in photo: Hunter Wilke, Cathy Podkul, Luz Aparicio, Patrick Moeller, Richard Podkul, Ben Engle
Zachary and his mom, Cathy, together on Mt. Ripley

Richard T. and Catherine F. Podkul established an endowed scholarship in honor of their son, Zachary Richard Podkul ’18. Zach earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech. He suffered from Crohn’s disease, and died in 2020 at age 25. Thankfully, Zachary’s wonderful legacy lives on here at Michigan Tech, now and always.

Five Michigan Tech Students Inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society

Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2022 Inductees: Bradley Gipson (CNSA), Keegan McInerney (MMET), Patrick D. Moeller (MMET), Mason Petersen (MMET), and Oliver Shakal (MMET)

The Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology and the College of Computing inducted five Michigan Tech students into Michigan Tech’s Delta Zeta Chapter of the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society on April 7.

Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence.

Congratulations to Delta Zeta Chapter’s Spring 2022 Epsilon Pi Tau initiates: Bradley Gipson (CNSA), Keegan McInerney (MMET), Patrick D. Moeller (MMET), Mason Petersen (MMET), and Oliver Shakal (MMET).

For more information, contact Delta Zeta Chapter trustee John Irwin (MMET) at jlirwin@mtu.edu, co-trustee Todd Arney (CoC) at toarney@mtu.edu, or visit Epsilon Pi Tau’s website.

Happy Holidays: A Note from MMET Chair John Irwin

Dr. John Irwin, Chair, Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Dear Friends,

Even though it has been yet another pandemic year for us all, I want to share some good news. Despite all the challenges, we are still thriving here at Michigan Tech. We hope you are too.

This past week, 16 of our MET students graduated at Michigan Tech’s mid-year commencement, and most have accepted offers for engineering positions.

Our fall 2021 MET freshman class was again one of the larger groups in recent history at 24 students (same as last year). And our total enrollment for the MET degree program reached an all-time high: 172 students.

Several students enrolled in online courses to attain a graduate certificate in Manufacturing Engineering, which was initiated this year. The majority are MET alumni who work in manufacturing-related positions. In addition, we offer a new MS in Manufacturing Engineering and will soon begin accepting applicants for fall 2022.

Our annual MMET holiday lunch!

Here in MMET, we continue to support the very popular new interdisciplinary MS degree in Mechatronics, offering five graduate courses including an innovative new course, MET5400: Key Factors of Holistic Safety Programs.

We look forward to a productive new year for 2022. We will continue to strive to prepare hands-on professionals that can apply industry 4.0 methodology. Please visit MMET to see our newly developed Mission, Vision, and Goals.

We’ve already gotten about 31″ of snow so far this year…

Be sure to reach out to me with any questions, and let me know if you have any news you would like to share. I always enjoy hearing from you. 

On behalf of all of us in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering and Technology, I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season.

John Irwin, Professor and Chair
jlirwin@mtu.edu
Support MET: https://www.mtu.edu/mmet/department/giving/

Have you seen these videos yet?


MMET student teams present their 2021 senior design projects, below. Enjoy!


Project: Wheelchair Seat Emergency Release System
Students: Karen Helppi; Mickala Kohtz; Darius Schultz
Advisor: Kevin Johnson

Project: Tailstock Redesign
Students: Hunter Rautiola; Taren Odette; Kaelan Redmond
Advisor: Nicholas Hendrickson

Watch the video: Tailstock Redesign

Project: Ice Resurfacer
Students: Eric Hoffman; Thomas Power
Advisor: John Irwin

Watch the video: Ice Resurfacer

MMET Applied Fluid Power Lab Thrives with Industry Support

New equipment in the Applied Fluid Power Lab, purchased with support from the Parker-Hannifin Foundation, was set up and operational by the start of classes in January 2021. In addition, grant funds from the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) were used to develop a revised curriculum.

“Our new hydraulic equipment includes an additional set of basic and advanced modules for our existing double-sided trainer (donated by Parker in 2019), plus a new double-sided trainer, pump, basic and advanced modules to equip both sides,” Irwin explains. “We immediately put this new equipment to good use.”

In the MMET Applied Fluid Power course, students perform all the labs in the basic and advanced Parker manuals during a two-hour lab session. They use Automation Studio software for the simulation and analysis of hydraulic circuits.

One brand-new 3-credit graduate course, Advanced Hydraulics: Electrohydraulic Components and Systems was offered for the first time in fall 2021 for students pursuing an MS in Mechatronics. The curriculum for the course was developed this past spring and summer.

Mechatronics MS student Namratha Karanam was hired to set up and test the electrohydraulic system components–an Electrohydraulic Module and an Electrohydraulic Expansion Module, both donated by Parker in 2019. 

“In addition, Donald Engineering President, Mark Gauthier, generously donated a Pump Test Stand to supplement our course learning objectives,” says Irwin. “Their donation enables MMET faculty and students to evaluate flow rate and temperature change in and out of the cooling unit for the hydraulic pump.”

MMET Department and Faculty Earn New Funding

New funding in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology includes a MiLEAP grant to support the creation and delivery of innovative, short-term programs in manufacturing to UP residents affected by COVID-19.

AIST Grant Supports Teaching Industry 4.0

MMET Assistant Professor David Labyak received a $25,000 Steel Curriculum Development Grant from the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST). Dr. Paul Sanders (MSE), Dr. Nathir Rawashdeh (AC), and Dr. John Irwin (MMET) are co-PIs. The team will use the award to teach Industry 4.0 to MET students in pilot-scale metal/steel processing facilities at Michigan Tech.


Michigan Tech CTE Offers a Seamless Transition from High School to College

Last fall Michigan Tech launched a year-long Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for high school juniors and seniors in the area of mechatronics. The partnership allows local students a seamless transition from high school to college. The program is offered through a partnership between Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD).

This fall, Dr. John Irwin received funding from CCISD to support the two MS Mechatronics students who prepare, teach and administer the program. The CCISD provides a total of $40,000 per year from local millage funds to support the delivery of the program. “Our hope is that upon completion of the program students will enroll in mechanical engineering technology and/or applied computing degree programs at Michigan Tech,” says Irwin.

The CTE program utilizes facilities in Michigan Tech’s EERC building for specialized training. Courses take place from 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day.


MiLEAP: Getting Michigan Back to Work

Last summer a $1,695,000 grant was awarded to Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! to help UP residents transition from short-term education programs to high-wage employment. The funding from Michigan Learning and Education Advancement (MiLEAP) will implement innovative, short-term, customized education and training programs in manufacturing and healthcare, with the goal of assisting over 450 participants from across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Michigan Tech contracted $61,703 for the MMET department led by Dr. John Irwin, and $61,703 for the Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC) Mobile Lab, directed by Dr. Jeremy Worm (ME-EM).
MiLEAP aligns with the state of Michigan’s “60 by 30” goal: to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.

More details about specific training opportunities will be coming soon from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training. Opportunities will be available until June 30, 2023. Learn more here.


Parker Donates Funds to Support Parker Motion and Control Lab

John Irwin, MMET Professor and Chair, received $8,500, a grant from Parker Motion and Control Lab Upkeep, in support of MMET Applied Fluid Power courses at Michigan Tech.

The upkeep funds have been allocated for a hydraulic platform, hydraulic pump, and hoses to expand the teaching labs in the Parker Motion and Controls Lab. An order has been placed with Triad Technologies for early February 2022 delivery, so that the new equipment can be used in the MMET Applied Fluid Power course. The course is available as a technical elective for students working toward BS and MS degrees in either Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, as well as MET majors. 

“Fluid power engineering is growing in the US and globally, which is one of the conclusions of the recent 2021 NFPA Industry Brief,” says Irwin. “According to the brief, fluid power has a major downstream economic impact. It is estimated that the top industries that depend on fluid power represent thousands of companies in the United States, employing more than 845,000 people for an annual payroll of more than $60 billion.” 

Congratulations to MMET Spring and Fall 2021 Graduates

Hooray!

MMET Spring and Fall 2021 Graduates

Congratulations Graduates! Be proud of your accomplishments! And please keep in touch! 

SPRING 2021:

Kyle Adler; Bryce Andres; Hunter Ashton; Anna Connelly; Ian DeVlieg; Jaina Dunikowski; Lukas Evans; Jake Grund; Ethan Hammond; Drew Hull; John Kubiszewski; John Kurburski; Jake Lehmann; Logan Morice; Alexander Provoast; Andrew Pumford; Austin Purdy; Jeff Richards; Duncan Seidel; Christopher Spencer; Brett Thode; Adam Thomas; Lennie Westenberg; Meghan Williams; Daniel Woirol; Andrew Wyman

FALL 2021:

Reed Aldrich; Karen Helppi; Eric Hoffman; Ian Jager; Jeff Kilikevicius; Dilon Kinnunen; Mickala Kohtz; Matt Krause; Colin LaVigne; Jack Lillie; Taren Odette; Thomas Power; Hunter Rautiola; Kaelan Redmond; Joe Staszek; Will Toivonen

Thomas Power Inducted into Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society

Congratulations to MET student Thomas Power, who was inducted into the Michigan Tech Delta Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society in Spring 2021.

Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence.

Zachary Richard Podkul MET Memorial Annual Scholarship and Design Contest

Zachary Podkul ’18

Richard T. and Catherine F. Podkul have established a new endowed scholarship in honor of their dear son, Zachary Richard Podkul, who passed away in 2020 from Crohn’s disease at age 25.

Zachary shared a love of cooking, the outdoors and nature, writing, and poetry. As a young boy, he had a curiosity for discovering how things worked. With this passion for knowledge, he enrolled in Michigan Tech and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

It was no small secret that Zachary loved the Upper Peninsula and his best times were at Michigan Tech. His intelligence inspired others to never stop learning. Zachary’s scholarship is intended to ease the financial burden for students who share his MTU experience and who also live with chronic health conditions. Zachary will always be remembered by his Michigan Tech Family and Alumni. Learn more here.

The Zachary Richard Podkul MET Design Competition

Zachary’s family also supports the annual Zachary Richard Podkul Design Competition. Each year, the contest winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Contest rules stipulate that students must use NX CAD software to design their content submission. Once selected by a panel of judges, the top-rated design is then 3D printed using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. 

The family of Zachary Podkul stands with Hunter Wilke (right back), MMET Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas V. Hendrickson (far left), and College of Engineering Director for Advancement Bryant Weathers (second from left).

And the 2021 winner is….HUNTER WILKE!

The challenge: design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus, something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing, or easily carried on one’s person. Hunter was declared the winner in 2021 for his “Door Opening Device.” Read the full story here.

For this year’s competition in 2022, the challenge is to design a Michigan Tech cookie cutter and provide an assembly of the automated process used to manufacture the cookie cutter, which will be used by the department to send to MET prospective students, employers, and alumni. Read the full story here. 

MMET’s Machine Shop Additive Manufacturing Lab Poised for Growth

Vat Photopolymerisation

Michigan Tech’s production-style, polymeric additive manufacturing (AM) machines are all located in the MMET Machine Shop. MMET Department Chair John Irwin envisions a total of seven.

“In accordance with ASTM, all AM processes must fall into one of seven technology groups,” Irwin explains. “For optimum teaching and research, it’s become increasingly clear that we need seven types of printers, one for each different technology.”

“The first of the three machines in our MMET AM Lab is a Stratasys Fortus 400mc 3D prototyping machine with wash station, used for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The second machine, for Vat Photopolymerisation—more commonly known as stereolithography—uses the 3D Systems Figure 4 Standalone Industrial 3D Printer. Finally, Material Jetting is done using the MJP 3600 with the PRO JET Finisher.”

Both undergraduate and graduate students stand to benefit from added equipment, says Irwin. “The MMET Machine Shop already serves as an important campus resource, serving both the MMET department and numerous other departments on campus.”

“Several undergraduate MMET labs are held in the Machine Shop,” notes Irwin. “A number of undergraduate Enterprise teams use the facility, as well.”

In addition, MMET graduate students use the Machine Shop as a place of learning. “Our Manufacturing Engineering MS degree course, MFGE 5300, covers the seven AM processes, how they work to produce a part, and how to design a part for the additive process,” says Irwin. “A second course, MFGE 5400, is a lab-based class in which students will bring their newly acquired knowledge from MFGE 5300 and apply it to designing and producing parts on each type of technology.”

“One of our most important goals is to become a leader in manufacturing, teaching and research. To reach this goal, our AM Lab is continually evolving.”

Dr. John Irwin, MMET department chair

A great deal of research goes on in the Machine Shop, too. “Graduate research projects are produced in this space on a daily basis for many disciplines across campus,” says Irwin. “Access to the best technology ensures the best research results. It also saves time, and in many cases, money, to the researcher—meaning they will be able to do more with their budget.” 

Fortunately, the MMET AM Lab is ready for growth. MMET Master Machinist Scott Meneguzzo and Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas Hendrickson staff the Machine Shop full-time, along with help as needed from temporary employees. 

“Nicholas has operated the polymeric AM facility since 2013,” notes Irwin. “He has developed a billing structure to account for time and materials for AM projects, and recently completed training in order to operate and maintain Michigan Tech’s new Direct Metal Printer.” Hendrickson is also pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a research focus in AM.

Last, but not least, printer material for AM is a critical need. “Each of the seven AM printing technologies is capable of printing a range of different material types. We need to have all these materials on hand,” says Irwin. “We also need example parts—produced from each material from each machine—so that a researcher can hold in their hand, feel and see each option in order to select the best printer and material for their project.”

“For the very same reasons, example parts are also important for educating students,” says Irwin. 

Michigan Tech Opens New Metal AM Facility

Adjacent to the Machine Shop, room 117 houses Michigan Tech’s new 3D Systems Direct Metal Printer (DMP), and the Flex 350 Production Printer. “This type of AM is for the manufacturing of high-precision metal parts with the 3D systems approved powders,” says Irwin. “This unit has a resolution of five microns and can process 11 unique metals, including bio-grade titanium (for biomedical applications), cobalt and chromium, several types of stainless steel, and more. “It’s available for research and development using custom powders, too.”

Read more
Alumni Gift of Advanced 3D Metal Printer Now Up and Running at Michigan Tech