Beginning in spring semester 2005, a team of seven engineering technology students designed and built five motorized pottery wheels as part of a senior project. Private individuals have purchased four of the wheels, but the students had something special in mind for the final wheel.
“From early on in the project, we really wanted to donate at least one of the wheels to a school where students could benefit from it,” said Lindsay Burt, team leader of the project.
Initially the students had difficulty finding a local school where they could donate the wheel, but their attention turned back to campus when they learned the ceramics emphasis within WSU’s visual arts department was interested.
"When the students demonstrated how their wheel works, I was really impressed,” said Drex Brooks, professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts. “It’s an amazing piece of machinery they have put together. They did a good job of modeling it after the top industry pottery wheels.”
The pottery wheels rival commercially available pottery wheels that cost $1,200 each. Brooks said the new wheel will be a great resource for future students working with ceramics.
Andy Drake, professor and chair of the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology, said the development and production issues that MFET students tackle and solve while working on a senior project like this provides hands-on experience that will be invaluable as they pursue their careers.
In addition to Burt, the other MFET students who worked on the pottery wheel project were: Mark Drake, Keith Fisher, Sam Hunter, Dana Wilkinson, and Cody Williams. The six MFET students collaborated with Alan Su, who is pursuing a degree in design graphics engineering technology and handled documentation for the project.
The five completed wheels will be presented on Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. in the Engineering Technology building, room 101. As part of the presentation, a visual arts professor will perform a ceramics demonstration with one of the wheels.
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Lindsay Burt, MFET student, senior project leader
- John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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