L - R: Brad Cummings with Mid-Park Metals) , Gabrel Secora (GCHS student), Greg Bernard (Mid-Park), Michael Critchelow (GC Tech Center Machining teacher) with 3D printed road sign of Leitchfield/Brownsville Exit 107 replica

As the Grayson County Technology Center’s Machining program expands its offerings to include opportunities for students interested in pursuing engineering, robotics, and industrial maintenance, junior Gabriel Secora recently took up a challenge from partner Mid-Park Highway. When the company wanted to duplicate a miniature sign bridge used at trade shows and other events, they approached the machining program.

Secora used calipers to measure and reverse engineer the original piece before devoting about three hours to design through computer software.  It then went to one of the program’s 3D printers for a build completed in 96 hours.  And that’s not counting the first print interrupted at the 17-hour mark by a power failure.

With the tie-in of engineering to the machining program, this was the first reverse engineering project, according to machining teacher Michael Critchelow. He noted the possibilities for students as they think about future professions and the opportunities “to create things like this.” And the options are unlimited through 3D printing materials such as metal or concrete.

These types of reverse engineering projects are very similar to those that students at the University of Louisville's Speed School of Engineering encounter.  GCTC has worked closely with Speed School to create a postsecondary document that outlines the courses students interested in engineering should take to be prepared for the next level. 

The final product was recently presented by Secora and Critchelow to Mid-Park Highway President Greg Bernard, Division President Brad Cummings, and Sales Manager Mike Edwards.