Team meeting for grant project held at CMCC

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Central Maine Community College (CMCC) hosted a faculty team meeting recently to prepare for the first semester of collaboration on the Virtual Ideation Platform or VIP, a project funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal of this project is to create an environment in which both design and machine tool students work in concurrent or ‘virtual’ product design and development, enabling those who make machine parts to communicate directly with students at other colleges who design machine parts.

Design students in two classes at Keene State College will be designing specialty use iPod carrying cases. Students at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will be creating tooling and operations documents for the machining processes and students at CMCC will be building the molds for the new designs. This work will require communication and collaboration between faculty and students all the involved institutions. Students will be graded on their collaborative work as team members as well as for their technical skills in design or machining.

In addition to discussions on how to best work together, the group discussed using an online class platform to communicate and share CAD files and other documents that will be developed as part of the project, and web conferencing so students can communicate face-to-face over the Internet. A Web site will be developed so that students at CMCC can record machining processes that will be available to students from partner institutions to view as they work on the project design.

Students will also be using rapid prototyping technology to build models of their designs before going to manufacture. They will use laser scanners to reverse engineer and improve existing products. Once the design is complete, graduate students at UMass Lowell will conduct finite element analysis to test for stress problems with the mold.

This project is made possible by a $1.3 million Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Grant awarded by the National Science Foundation.

Pictured here at the faculty team meeting for the VIP project are left to right: Machine tool technology instructors Devin Watson, Brad Record, Lloyd Pulsifer (department chair) and Diane Dostie, dean of Corporate and Community Services who serves as the principle investigator for the grant. Representatives from Keene State and STCC were also in attendance.

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