Shelby County College and Career Center student John Doonan recently took a robotic car from a base Lego Mindstorm kit and looked for ways to improve upon the design. He and his instructor, James Hill, recently brought the newly redesigned car to demonstrate to the Board of Education members how he took the car from basic to supercharged, at least in speed and function.
Doonan, know as JD to friends and family, is a student in the Robotic and Automated Manufacturing (RAM) Career Technical Academy. He built the base car from the Lego Mindstorm kit but then saw many ways to improve upon the design. Doonan added two more wheels, a stabilization bar, and changed the gear ratio to make it faster. He also made it four wheel drive which improved the car’s handling.
The students were discussing lean principles of machine improvement during the time they also worked on the Mindstorm robotic kits. When Doonan finished, the car was completely redesigned and very fast. It is known in the RAM program as the “really cool car”.
“Even though we don’t have a class dedicated to lean manufacturing, we still try to put a little in where we can,” said Hill. “It has been my experience that companies who are great at lean manufacturing, always look for ways to improve the equipment they utilize, and that is exactly what JD did with the Lego car.”
Doonan, who is also a talented blacksmith, was recently honored at the College and Career Center’s Awards Night for having the best work ethic in RAM.