When getting a shipment of plastic connectors no larger than a sticky note became the road block stopping Stillwater Medical Radiology from serving their patients, Dr. Brandon Mason knew he needed to find a solution. Mason found the perfect solution when he was put in touch with students in Meridian Technology Center’s Computer Aided Drafting program.
The piece Mason needed was a connector that typically comes in tubing kits to drain large volumes of fluid from patients. Due to supply chain problems and shipping delays, Stillwater Radiology LLC was unable to get the kits and connectors in a timely manner.
“We have patients who depend on getting fluid drained from their abdominal or thoracic cavities that come in every week,” Mason explained. “Without the connector, we can’t drain the necessary volume of fluid from patients and that effects their comfort levels and ultimately, quality of life.”
After an unsuccessful attempt to find a solution at the hardware store, Mason’s co-worker recommended Meridian’s Computer Aided Drafting program as a potential solution. Mason reached out to Russel Frick, Meridian’s Computer Aided Drafting instructor, who presented the challenge to two students he knew could get the job done.
CAD students, Remington Denton and Corey Schaffer started work on the project during their initial meeting with Mason.
“When Mason met with us the first time, I immediately started a rough mockup on my computer,” Denton said. “After that, I took measurements of every part of the piece and made my mockup more precise.”
From measuring the width and height to getting the perfect amount of threads on the piece, Denton and Schaffer worked to get the 3D printed connector to match the sample perfectly. In order to test their prints, the team partnered with Meridian’s Health Careers simulation lab to flush fluid through tubing using the connectors. After the connectors passed the test, Denton and Schaffer got to work printing. The total time to print 25 pieces took 14 hours.
For the students, working with Mason to print the connectors was a chance to apply what they’ve learned in the Computer Aided Drafting program to develop a solution to a real-world problem. For Mason, the students not only helped him, but the community.
“Getting the connectors made at Meridian helped us get back to the drainage volume needed to keep our patients comfortable and healthy,” Mason explained. “Without this piece, essentially, we wouldn’t have been able to take care of the community.”
Drafting Your Future
Beginning February 1, Meridian will accept applications from high school students for Fall 2022. High school students spend a half day at their home high school and half day at Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian is tuition-free for district high school students and includes free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credits for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives. High school students will need to talk to their high school counselor for an application. Adults can enroll online beginning April 1 at meridiantech.edu/adults.
Students enrolling in the CAD programs have the option to choose between four program tracks: Architectural Specialist, Mechanical Specialist, CAD Technician Architectural and CAD Technician Mechanical.
In the Architectural Specialist track, students help clients bring their building and design ideas to life. This program teaches the essential elements of computer aided drafting and design using computer software. Students learn how to create drawings and blueprints for buildings and how to successfully present designs to clients.
The Mechanical Specialist track provides the critical link between innovation and product development. In this program, students use computers and creativity to design scale or full-size blueprints of a variety of specialty items, such as furniture and automobile body or chassis components. Specialists in this field create detailed designs for a variety of mechanical equipment.
In the CAD Technician Architectural track, students can be the critical link between architects and construction professionals. This program teaches students how to create the technical drawings and plans that construction workers can use to build houses, office buildings and other structures. This field combines creativity and computers to enable students to design new projects or alter existing designs.
The CAD Technician Mechanical track gives students the skills to develop detailed drawings and plans for manufacturers or engineers. In addition to learning how to design, students learn how to illustrate the technical details of the products and structures and specify dimensions, materials and procedures. The work completed will help in transitioning products from prototypes to production.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Workforce and Economic Development services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
For more information or to enroll, visit www.meridiantech.edu or contact a career counselor by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509. To view a full list of programs, visit www.meridiantech.edu/programs.