Master of Engineering Students Design a Shotgun That Has Finally Gone Into Production
In decades past, Ithaca may have been known even more as a center for manufacturing than as a center for education. Local products included Ithaca calendar clocks and Ithaca guns. Now Ithaca guns are back in the news.
In 2000 the Ithaca Gun Company approached Prof. John Callister and arranged for a team to design parts and a manufacturing process for a new shotgun. Not long afterwards, the company ceased production due to financial difficulties. Recently the new company that bought its assets and name began manufacturing the student-designed gun in Upper Sandusky, OH.
ORIE M.Eng. student Chris Tupino, participating in the Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering Concentration, was a member of the design team. "It was great news to learn that it had actually come to fruition," he said, speaking of the design.
Along with his colleagues from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Chris worked on the engineering design drawings for the Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the new 28 gauge shotgun. They also developed recommendations for the factory layout and changes to the work flow. The design was based on an existing 20 gauge version of the Model 37 shotgun that was substantially due to foremost firearms designer John Browning and was patented in 1913. However changes were necessary to accommodate the new, smaller dimensions (for guns, the higher the gauge, the smaller the shell and barrel diameter).
The project report notes that as a producer of handmade guns Ithaca Gun practiced a "job shop type of manufacturing." The new company's web site mentions the multiplicity of processes identified by the project team and reports that "our programmers and machinists have consolidated these many steps into cuts that are executed by machine tools with surgical accuracy." Key contributors to this change are the "skilled engineers who model the gun in state-of-the-art 3D CAD software."
According to Callister, "our students did most of the design and manufacturing planning for the new gun," and provided the 3D CAD drawings that drive the computed numerically controlled (CNC) machines that produce the parts.
After graduating with an M.Eng. Tupino was employed by Northrop Grumman, where he is now a senior industrial engineer in electronics manufacturing at their Baltimore facility. More recently he has been involved in deploying the company's Enterprise Resource Planning system, in developing a capacity strategy for groups in the Baltimore facility, and in using discrete event simulation.
"So all in all I have enjoyed being a functional, practicing industrial engineer for the past 9 years employing many of the concepts, theoretical and practical, I learned from the ORIE program," Tupino said.
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