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Designing (and making) cool stuff

At Design Concepts, we have a pretty great mission statement: “We design cool stuff to drive business success and make life better.”

And on a recent Saturday, we also made cool stuff and helped get young people excited about the process of design.

For a second year, we’ve been a sponsor and exhibitor at the Madison Mini Maker Faire. As a company, we know our future depends on a supply of talented and imaginative young engineers and designers and that begins by turning kids on to the joys of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields.

Quite frankly, turning kids on to STEAM is just plain fun, too.

This year, mechanical engineer Matt Poster led our effort. He worked with our design teams to create a dragon ring that shoots discs that look like our logo. Prototype Development Manager Jason Splan created the tooling in our shop. Matt, along with mechanical engineers Doug Seals and Knute Alstad, spent long hours in our Model Shop pumping out parts for the rings. They made about 750 rings in total. When you consider it was all done by hand, that’s a lot of work.

We brought our small injection molder to the Faire and demonstrated it live along with a laptop that showed the design in SolidWorks. The adults seemed as excited by the process as the kids.

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Nora, daughter of our Sales & Marketing Adminstrator Lori Lelivelt, explains how to put together and shoot the dragon ring.
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Matt Poster explains the injection molding process.
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Jesse Darley, Director of Mechanical Engineering, helps the kids learn how to shoot their rings.
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A young visitor and his dad do some target practice.
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Design Concepts visual designer Shelby Floyd and his son Sebastian stop by our booth for a tutorial from Corin Frost.

Finally, there was the graphic support work of Corin Frost and David Roseberry that helped explain both our product design process and how to put the ring together. We also had a fun target practice for the kids (and their parents) to try out their dragon ring accuracy.

Thanks to all the employees who volunteered that day or brought their families to explore the Faire.

Who knows? Maybe in a decade or so, one of those kids shooting a dragon ring in our booth will be shooting a Nerf gun in our studio as an engineer or designer.

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