Washington State was the Silver Medal winner at the National SkillsUSA Automated Manufacturing Contest.

The Washington State team is from Mark Morris High School in Longview, Wash. Its instructor is Stuart Smith. Contestants are Masen Furer, Gavin Johnson, and Chris Melink.

The Automated Manufacturing contest is performed in teams of three contestants.

The CAD (computer-aided drafting) person produces a CAD drawing that meets all of the specifications of the provided sketch and/or sample part to be manufactured. He/she transmits a copy of the completed CAD file to the CAM person. (In manufacturing, a "part" is the product piece that is manufactured.)

The CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) person uses the CAD file as a graphic database in order to generate a CNC (computer numerical control) program that will control a CNC milling machine.

The CNC person sets up a table-top CNC milling machine and installs the CAM person's program to make the contest part. A CNC machine uses milling cutters to cut a three-dimensional part from a block of material. Most industrial milling is done in metal, but machinable plastic material is used in this contest.

After the team has completed the project, it is evaluated by the judges. The judges then give the team a list of revisions (alterations) from the original specifications. The team then edits their drawings, generates a new CNC program, and manufactures a new, revised part for the judges to evaluate.

The contest is timed, with a maximum of eight hours available. Most of the score is based on correct CAD drawings and milled parts that have dimensions within specified tolerances. A portion of the score is based on how quickly a team completes all of the required work.

Dozens of companies and individuals have donated time, machines, materials, and software for this contest. In addition, dozens of individuals have taken personal time off work and provided and paid for their own transportation and conference expenses in order to be contest judges.

Access this 9-minute video by clicking on the link below.