Banner
Training & Education

Awakening young minds

By Gretchen Salois

October 2010 - Inspiring high school students to embrace school assignments can be difficult. However, the DeLaSalle Automotive Studioin Kansas City, Mo., has accomplished just that, motivating students to join together to build a 2000 Lola Indy Car from the ground up. Classes at the studio's education center from 2008 to 2010 include a process that involves creative thinking to design projects while making the connection to real-life business.

According to Richard Stephen Rees, founder and CEO of MindDrive Automotive Design Studio, students actively participated in the construction of a birdcage wire frame. "As three distinct groups, they shaped the wires to get the desired body form," Rees says. "Various brackets were made and installed by the students including the belly pan for the body that was made of sheet aluminum." Students also turned the edges up and used a brake, bucks and leather hammers to form the brakes themselves. To gain hands-on experience, students visited a large metalworking shop where they saw a large-scale brake create longer edges. Students learned how to handle sheet metal so as not to oil can its flat finish.

Experienced racing fabricator Greg Welch, who is a graduate of DeLaSalle Education Centerand now runs a fabrication business in Kansas City, serves as a student mentor. His specialty is custom exhaust and intake components. He fabricated the wheel adapters that allowed the team to use a street wheel on an Indy Car spindle (center lock). He also demonstrated various spindle-to-wheel connection techniques. Welch welded the wires frame of the car's body and fabricated the intricate mounting of the motor and sprockets and chair drive that were installed within the bell housing of the existing Indy Car, says Rees. Welch built the majority of these items in his custom shop.

Why this program is important
The MindDrive program's three main objectives are to give students the tools to process creative thinking, see the potential for realizing dreams in a successful future and instill a greater desire to learn by connecting the process to life skills. The program allows students to take on projects that connect them to the real world, including socially responsible endeavors such as building vehicles while keeping environmental issues in mind.

The program took the students to nearby McPherson Collegein McPherson, Kansas, the only four-year auto-restoration school in the country. "We have one student interested in going there," Rees says, adding the possibility of a nationwide expansion of the MindDrive program exists. "I can't tell you who we are talking to, but we gave a proposal recently to a major manufacturer to create the class in cities around the country: the concept of experiential learning and responsibility."

Jeff McCormick, another MindDrive mentor who specializes in automotive restoration, believes the program is a positive influence on students. "For a lot of these at risk kids, DeLaSalle is kind of a last-ditch effort for them," McCormick says. He believes a program like MindDrive will provide DeLaSalle students with skills to "get through life and maybe go on to college." Sometimes, students would surprise the mentors with their abilities. "You had such a mix of skill levels--some kids couldn't read a ruler while others were better skilled at the computer components than the adults were," McCormick says.

"You have to get people in the industry to draw these kids in," McCormick says. "Foundry work, mold making and prototype building--[here at MindDrive] we have opened the eyes of some young kids that may really carry this forward, and they can pass what they've learned on to some other kids." The students leave not only with technical skills but also the ability to "sell themselves." The social-interaction skills students learn will translate into the business world. "You have got to overcome that communication stigma that comes from being in the inner city," McCormick says. "These kids want to learn, they want to be a part of something." FFJ

Sources

Banner

Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


BPA_WW_MASTER.jpg