Vincennes University Precision Machining Technology students win global competition

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VINCENNES, Ind., March 22, 2023 – A trio of Vincennes University Precision Machining Technology majors won first place in the Educational Division of the 2022 Mastercam Wildest Parts Competition. Composed of Nate Conrad, Jackson Roberts, and Luke Schirmer, the VU students won the top prize for their innovative and fun electric skateboard.

Sponsored yearly by Mastercam, the competition encourages student interest and participation in manufacturing. The contest challenges students in high school and college to create parts demonstrating creativity and technical skill using Mastercam software. 

“I am extremely proud of the work done by our student team during the 2022 Wildest Parts Competition,” VU Advanced CNC Assistant Professor Jonathan Vennard said. “The students were self-sufficient and were able to take what they have learned in the Precision Machining and Advanced CNC Programming and Operations courses to create a truly innovative project.”

The VU students showcased their talents and skills while beating second and third-place teams from Taiwan. Those teams created a violin and a combination/master lock in the shape of an end mill.

VU’s winning project began as a personal venture before Vennard encouraged the students to enter the electric skateboard into the competition. The students challenged themselves, resulting in a first-place finish and a great sense of achievement.

With the exception of electronics, everything on the winning skateboard was designed and manufactured by Conrad (Valley City, Ohio), Roberts (Chesterton, Indiana), and Schirmer (Lizton, Indiana).

According to Roberts, “Working with Nate and Luke showed me what three liked minded people could really accomplish by working together. We were all able to accept the responsibilities set forth at the beginning of the project and be able to bounce ideas off each other when we encountered problems in our tasks. What I enjoyed best about the competition was being able to follow whatever criteria we set as a team for our project. Every step of the way felt like a major accomplishment while seeing the board materialize in front of us. The last few days were very stressful, but once the board was finished, the feeling of achievement was overwhelming.”

Their winning skateboard and successful ideas earned the trio a cash award, certificates and other prizes.

“We are so thankful for the industry partnerships, support, and guidance that we receive here at VU to help make cutting-edge projects like this one possible,” Vennard said. “We look forward to continuing to compete in the Mastercam Wildest Parts competition and Project

MFG competitions in the future, to continue to carve the Vincennes University name as one of the premier educational facilities for machinists in the country.”

VU’s Precision Machining Technology program has a nearly 100 percent graduation placement rate. Starting salaries for VU Precision Machining graduates average in the $40,000 to $50,000 range or higher.