NMU-Produced Luge Gauges Distributed

In the midst of summer, it may be difficult to think ahead to winter sports season. But at the U.S. Luge Association meeting last month in Lake Placid, N.Y., gauges produced by an NMU class were distributed to luge officials and to coaches of the national and junior teams. The gauges measure more than 30 points of luge sleds to ensure that they adhere to international regulations. They are already being used for training and will be used at competitive events in Lake Placid, Salt Lake City and at Lucy Hill in Negaunee when the season begins in November.

Cale Polkinghorne (Engineering Technology) said he was approached by Dennis Guertin, a local resident and international luge race official, for help in upgrading the gauges.

“I integrated the project into my advanced computer numerical control (CNC) operations class last semester,” said Polkinghorne. “The existing gauges were in limited supply and had weak tolerances, so we manufactured three separate gauges that hold tolerances of 0.002 of a millimeter. We made 20 of each gauge for a total of 60. Superior Extrusion in Gwinn donated all of the aluminum material for the project.”

The students completed the design and production using their NMU laptops, a three-dimensional software program, a computer-aided manufacturing program and a computer numerical control (CNC) machining center. They were graded on every step of the process.

“I couldn’t be happier with the level of cooperation from the faculty and students at NMU,” said Guertin in a USA Luge press release. “They’ve been great to work with. The gauges are built to much higher tolerances, they’re durable and they won’t scratch the sleds when used.”

Polkinghorne said it is likely the class will manufacture more gauges in the future.



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Updated: July 14, 2011

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