Waunakee, WI—Tormach Inc. will provide on-site CNC machining services at the FIRST Robotics Championships, being held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI from April 24-27, 2019.
Called ‘The World’s Largest Celebration of STEM for Students’, FIRST Robotics expects over 10,000 visitors and over 800 teams of students at this year’s event in Detroit.
This is the third year in a row that Tormach has been on-site at the FIRST Robotics Championships. The company is one of the event’s machine shop sponsors and also supports the regional FIRST competitions that take place around the country leading up to the championships.
In Detroit, Tormach will be on-site with two CNC machines, the company’s PCNC 440 and higher-output 770M mills which can easily handle cutting plastics, aluminum to hardened steel and titanium. In addition, the company will have a desktop router ‘and a well-stocked toolbox’ at the event to support the students, according to Jenny Bannink, Tormach’s Lead Machinist. Jenny and Tormach’s Brandon Faulkner will be working the Tormach machines.
“We really enjoy supporting the students at the FIRST events,” she said. “Education is a major initiative at Tormach, and we love the opportunity to not only help the students on-site with their projects, but also to show them that machining and manufacturing are great career paths to follow.”
At the FIRST events, Tormach sets up an onsite machine shop in the ‘pits’ that are usually strategically located right in the middle of the action on the show floor. Students bring their robots and projects to Tormach for on-site repairs and modifications. The machining necessary to fix or improve a product can be challenging at times, said Bannink, but the experience provides a great real-life example for the students of what a CNC machinist’s job entails.
“We’re providing ‘on the fly’ machining services at these events, and it’s a competition; if a 120 lb. robot falls 6 feet to the floor, for example, or a gearbox malfunctions, that team of students needs help, and they need it quickly,” she said. “Also, some schools bring solid models and blueprints for their products, and others bring sketches; there’s a lot of on-site designing and re-designing happening between the students, coaches and Tormach machinists.”