Engineering Students at Cornwall College responded magnificently to a telephone call from the owner of Rupert, a retired Greyhound that was struggling to walk due to chronic arthritis in his back legs. Pulling together under the guidance of Engineering Lecturer Luke Bazeley, the students turned what was a hopeful call from a worried dog owner into a real-life engineering project, which gave Rupert back some quality of life.

Students Edward Hosken, Bradley Morris and Josh Sefton in front of the XYZ Mini Mill 560.

As part of their training to be the engineers of the future, students at Cornwall College’s engineering department try to solve real-life problems when devising projects for their BTEC level 3 CNC unit. When the call came from Rupert’s owner they set to designing and manufacturing a special harness from aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre, making use of the XYZ Machine Tools in the college workshop along with Mastercam software.

“This call was opportune and the whole class became involved in the project,” says Luke Bazeley. “We created an integrated team with varying roles to simulate a real engineering environment, with students switching roles throughout the project to gain as much experience as possible.” The parts for the harness were initially sketched out on paper before being finalised using Mastercam software. This data for the main frame of the harness being transferred to the college’s XYZ Mini Mill 560 vertical machining centre for milling, profiling and drilling, with other fittings being turned on the workshop’s XYZ SLX 1630 ProTURN lathe. In addition to utilising the capability of the Siemens and ProtoTRAK CNC controls ability to verify programs, the students also made use of the offline Sinumerik simulators they have available.

Tutor Luke Bazeley with students Edward Hosken, Jago Roberts, Zbigniew Lipinski, Bradley Morris and, of course, Rupert the Greyhound.

As a result of the efforts of the students at Cornwall College, Rupert now has improved mobility and his quality of life is vastly improved. “”This is just one of many projects that we have taken on here at the college and is a great example of how we develop students not only in their engineering skills, but also teamwork and social responsibility. We see it as vital that they gain problem solving skills while working under pressure and pulling together as a group to deliver the end result,” says Luke Bazeley.

A video of Rupert and the work undertaken by the students can be seen here on the College’s Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2wxta2a