When one considers attending a trade school, they are typically seeking to build a variety of skills which will help them become more attractive to future employers, or even skills that will help them in their own daily lives. Thus, it becomes important to focus on building transferable skills which can be applied to a wide variety of job functions or industries.
Managers and supervisors appreciate and respect an employee who can help get a job done accurately, under budget and on-time. Project Management Skills become critical in this regard. Composites Technology students complete a large-scale team project during their time in the program to help understand why project management skills can be so beneficial.
Step One: Build a Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) Model of the Project
Composite Students spend approximately one month learning CAD via Rhino 3D & converting the CAD file into machining language (g code) using RhinoCAM. Once the students are familiar with Rhino 3D, they will demonstrate their competence as part of their team project.
Step Two: Develop a Project Plan, including a Process and Materials Plan, a Project Cost Estimate and a Production Timeline
Developing a project plan and timeline is a critical student exercise. The detailed process plan encourages examination of the actual process steps and sequence. The materials projection list will lead to a reasonable cost estimate that can be compared to an established budget. This process is the very base of the project management skill-set.
Step Three: Create a Computer-Aided-Manufacturing (CAM) Plan for Fabricating Parts for their Project
A critical part of the process plan is to determine how the CNC Route will be used in the execution of the project parts. This might take the form of direct cut molds, plugs or machining the part itself. In any case, a machining plan must be devised and tool paths generated. The students will use RhinoCam for this process.
Step Four: Complete a Processing / Materials Plan With Cost Estimates for the Project
Simulating a real-world work environment, student projects must project a budget based on a materials plan, outlining what will be needed to safely and efficiently complete the project.
Step Five: Execute & Complete the Actual Build of the Project
This is the fun part! Everything a student learns in the classroom and the composites shop culminates in the build of the project. If you can plan and execute a project under the time and cost parameters, there’s no limit to what you can build!
Step Six: Present a Portfolio Outlining Entire Project
Be proud, you did it! You now have an excellent portfolio which showcases both your building and your project management skills. Your portfolio represents your value as a professional at your next job interview.