CAD Students Sit Down on the Job

By Rebecca Goodno
MCC Communications Intern


The winning chair, with designers Logan Weesies and DJ Morris.

Most people scrap their used cardboard. In MCC Instructor Jeff Johnston’s class, they sit on it.

Each year, he requires his Computer Aided Design (CAD) students to research, design and eventually construct usable chairs from corrugated paper and glue. The lesson benefits anyone pursuing a career in computer aid design, manufacturing engineering technology and industrial technology, explained Johnston.

He laid down the ground rules at semester’s start. Students were grouped into three teams of two-to-three members. Next, they researched five companies that make computer chairs and listed five innovative design features of each company’s products. Eventually, they chose one firm and were required to explain the reasons for their decision.

Back in the MCC classrooms, they prepared three detailed sketches – top, front, right and isometric views – of three separate designs. In the prototype lab, they then developed one detailed design and made a 3-D print of it before actually producing the chairs in the MCC Materials Lab.

“Overall the students seemed to really enjoy themselves while they worked on this project,” said Johnston. “There was definitely some friendly competition in the classroom.”

Dedication was key in this project, as the students worked many hours on this at the college and at home, added Johnston.

Erin Hoffman, an Art instructor at MCC, selected the winning chair, which was created by the team of Logan Weesies and DJ Morris.

“My favorite part was watching the progress we made overtime,” stated Dan Fox, one of the CAD student competitors who is planning to attend Grand Valley State University or Ferris State University. “From starting with a drawing to having it become a product was really cool”.

Like Fox, other students are planning to use the knowledge gained at the next level.

“I have to get a two- year CAD degree from MCC to go to Ferris for product design,” said Ryan Carpenter.

“It was really interesting to see that cardboard and glue can withstand over 200 lbs.,” added Aaron Cross, who also plans to attend Ferris State University.