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Plainfield High School-Central Campus engineering students create, improve knob for man in wheelchair

Plainfield High School-Central Campus students in Robert McGahey’s 3D and engineering classes designed an ergonomic wheelchair control knob to help a PHSCC colleague.

A relative of PHSCC social worker Alan Bank has multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized wheelchair.

It was difficult for him to use the small control knob on his wheelchair, McGahey said.

McGahey’s students created prototypes of bigger knobs so it would be easier for Bank’s relative to maneuver, McGahey said.

Students took their ideas from concept art to 3D resin prototypes.

“Students 3D printed their prototypes, and Mr. Bank was able to test each design, gathering feedback to bring back to the designers on adjustments or edits that would further improve the fit and function,” McGahey said.

Fifteen students made more than 25 prototypes of the knob.

Bank’s relative is using three of the student-made knobs, McGahey said.

Incoming sophomore Jeremy Korallus said the project was challenging.

“This project made me think through how different shapes may work best for the user and how it is important to revise design work as part of the process,” he said.

Sarah Lauss, who will be a sophomore in the fall, said she wanted to use her engineering and 3D skills to help someone else.

“I was able to use different software than what we learned in class, which was cool for me to apply my skills,” she said.

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