We were thrilled to be part of last month's Massachusetts State SkillsUSA competitions for our 13th year! The students' work gets better every year, making it harder to judge each time! We're always impressed with their teamwork, creativity, presentations, and the apparent preparation by many of the teams. Every team did an amazing job, and we're proud of their achievements at the competition. Here are some highlights from the challenges AET Labs led:
The laser engraving competition challenged students to act as a business producing a custom product for a customer. Students produced original artwork and fabricated their designs within a short timeframe. The competition's theme this year was Mother's Day.
This year's competition required the nine participating teams to complete the following challenges:
- Build an air logic and pneumatics-powered circuit based on a specific application.
- Build and measure an AC/DC circuit, test for proper operation and amperage.
- Construct, commission, and troubleshoot a MecLab module.
- Reconfigure and combine two MecLab modules and then design an electro-pneumatic schematic in FluidSim.
- Program their PLC to control the reconfigured MecLab module.
This fun demonstration of the Festo MecLab training system was on display at the competition. It incorporates electromechanics, microcontrollers, and CAD in a project that students can work on in the classroom.
In the additive manufacturing challenge, the students' task was to design a functional and movable assembly, also known as a gear system or kinematic model. Additionally, during the day of the competition, students were challenged to add one more moving part to their original design or redesign their model to reduce print time.
Students accepted the challenge and rose to the occasion! Some of the fantastic designs and models included: a straw for the Angelman Syndrome community, a peristaltic pump for IV fluid administration, fidgets/toys for children diagnosed with ADHD, a gear wrist fan, an assembly for spooling thread/string, a mechanism that helps people with physical disabilities stir a spoon while they are cooking, a pill bottle opener for people with disabilities, and a hand cranking fan.
Congrats to every student who participated in the SkillsUSA competitions! We're proud of everyone and look forward to coming back next year.