Moraine Park hosts manufacturing adventure camp

by jbrezinsky17. July 2012 09:04

Toolin’ it! allows local students to explore careers in manufacturing

     Students from area middle and high schools spent the week of June 18 through 22 at Moraine Park Technical College learning about manufacturing through instruction, hands-on activities and meeting leaders in the manufacturing business during the Toolin’ It! summer camp. The camp covered a range of topics in manufacturing from computer-assisted design and CNC, to electricity and welding.
     Sixteen students in ages ranging from 13 to 16 from Campbellsport, Fond du Lac, Hartford, Kewaskum, Rubicon, Slinger and West Bend filled the room on the first day of camp to learn about design. They were able to experiment with SolidWorks, a 3D mechanical CAD program.
     “It’s appropriate that students begin with design,” said Kim Olson, a tool design engineering technology instructor at Moraine Park. Design isn’t made in the shop. “Everything needs to be designed prior to being produced on the shop floor.”
     Tom Roehl, engineering technologist instructor at Moraine Park, taught the students on Tuesday about the concept of value added. “Adding value to a piece of material is the core of how manufacturers make a profit,” Roehl said. Roehl hopes that the students take away an interest in machining as a career possibility, an understanding of the benefits of manufacturing as a career and an appreciation for how manufacturers improve our society.            
     On Wednesday, Mark Wamsley, electricity instructor at Moraine Park, led the students in a project where they installed wiring to make a light bulb turn on.
     After discussing safety equipment and protocol on Thursday morning, the students suited up for some welding projects and worked in groups of two. For Alex Dean, a homeschooled tenth-grader from Campbellsport, learning to weld was something new, as it was for students at the camp. When they developed enough skills with tacking two pieces of metal together, they moved on to more complicated projects like welding together a model-sized motorcycle.
     Moraine Park welding instructor Jeff Beach said there is a shortage of quality welders, and there will be a lot of opportunities for students interested in welding and fabrication. There’s a misconception that all jobs in manufacturing are “low paying” and “unsafe,” he added. “That’s not the case.”
     The camp concluded on Friday with field trips to Craft Cast Company in Jackson; Kettle Moraine Coatings in West Bend; and Signicast, out of Hartford.
     Todd McDonald, president of Signicast, said the tour provided a way to educate students what is possible” in manufacturing. When asked what types of classes should students pay attention to if they want to work for this company in the future he answered by saying “every skill they’re teaching in school is used here” including math, science, and reading.
     Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs is an organization that provides manufacturing camps such as the “Toolin’ It” camp to encourage students to investigate a career in manufacturing. For more information, visit