Engineering Students Solve Cafeteria Chair Problem

A real problem needed a real solution.

That was the motivation behind a recent project for students studying engineering design and development.

Facilities manager Bob Young has repaired dozens of chairs from the CJ cafeteria due to a part on the bottom of the chair, called a cleat, consistently breaking.

“I wanted to give the students a simple problem that was under their feet and let them follow the design process to completion,” Young said. “I wanted them to produce a solution for something that impacts not only the student body but also the school as a whole.”

The class, consisting of Lindsey Fuchs ‘19, Brennan Harlow ‘19, Noah Jackson ‘19 and Josh Kinnear ‘19, along with teacher Saad Qureshi, worked for several weeks creating a solution.

“It took a couple steps to get there, and we had to make some changes to our original design,” Jackson said. “We wanted to make sure that we had the answer to the problem and something easily installable.”

“The original cleats are hard to remove,” Harlow added. “Our design is simpler - you just put it on the chair and slide it.”

The students’ design was created with the school’s 3D printer and features a CJ logo on the side.

“I thought it was cool to have this experience in high school,” Fuchs noted. “This was a real problem and we came up with a real solution. This was very eye opening.”

Kinnear agreed, “This was a good lesson as I prepare for college because I know I can reevaluate solutions when I work on future projects.”

“I am very proud of these students taking the chance to fail and believing in the process to succeed,” Young added. “Their solution provides a safe solution to the chair problem and stops damage to the floors.”

To continue giving the students a real-world experience, Young bought the design from the students to transfer legal ownership of the design to the school.

“The other engineering teachers and I talk about how we wish we had opportunities like this when we went to high school,” Qureshi noted. “They now have great insight for the future.”

Posted January 17, 2019