Learning to make things
Students get creative at summer Manufacturing Camp
KINGSFORD — Brayden Pataconi of Iron Mountain calls the camp he’s attending this summer “interesting.”
Other summer camps might make s’mores around the fire. He’s assembling a fire pit, from start to finish.
Pataconi said he has tried stick welding before, but it wasn’t like this gas metal art welding.
“It’s easy,” he said. “I’m making T-joints — you just hold them up and weld them together.”
Thirteen students age 13 to 16 years old are taking part in the Dickinson County Manufacturing Camp that opened July 15 and will conclude Friday.
Bay College — in collaboration with Heavy Metal Tours and Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs — is conducting the two-week manufacturing camp at Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School Vocational Technical Center in Kingsford, with the goal of supporting local industry and bridging the gap in the workforce.
The camp offers students training and hands-on experience on several areas of manufacturing processes, including safety regulations; welding; basic computer-aided design, or CAD; automated waterjet plasma table process; fabricating; and learning how to price and sell a product.
“We started out with a briefing on welding and then, obviously, safety, because they were dealing with pressurized gas cylinders and also because welding is hot. Then we moved on to basic instructions on how to use the CAD program. So they are designing stuff and then cutting it out on the table. Next week they are going to design it in CAD and then we are going to give them the parts and they are going to weld it together,” Daniel Mitchell, fabrication welder from Boss Snowplow and one of the camp instructors, said late last week.
The camp also has featured guest speakers from Loadmaster and Lakeshore.
Campers are learning to work independently and as part of a team, to gain a more complete picture of how manufacturers operate a business.
“Ideally, we were just going to do the fire pit; that’s the main thing they are going to build,” Mitchell said. But “they were getting bored learning just that process,” he said. “We had some excess metal — not a ton of it — and they are making their own personal small projects. That way they can be a little more creative,” he said.
The students should finished their projects by Wednesday. Thursday, the campers will tour BOSS Snowplow and Systems Control.
Friday will be devoted to calculating the cost of labor, material and other expenses for what they’ve built, Mitchell said.
Sean Cassidy of Armstrong Creek, Wis., got to try welding for the first time last week.
“I think it’s a pretty good camp,” Cassidy said. “I would recommend it to a friend.”