How do you help customers understand what they are buying before they buy it? This is a problem that has presented itself to many entrepreneurs and business owners and one that most certainly has manifested itself many times over a summer at the Mr. Twisty ice cream shop on Ridgewood Road in West. St. Cloud. This spring, students in Sartell High School’s Intro to Engineering Design Class were challenged by Erich Rothstein, the owner of Mr. Twisty to help him answer his customer’s questions around the size of the ice cream cones he offered. The students had to design and 3D print an ice cream cone model in attempt to produce a scaled replica of each of the 4 sizes of twist cones that Mr. Twisty offers (Kiddie, Small, Medium and Large). The end goal of this project was to provide a visual aid of the cone sizes to customers.
While this wasn’t a typical project offered in the Intro to Engineering Design, one ambitious 10th grade student, Mikayla Emslander decided it was a perfect fit for her. She started by considering how she needed to work on the project within the CAD modeling software that would make sense for some of the cone’s shape considerations since they were very different from things like counterbores or chamfers. She decided to try a different approach by moving the design from the model environment to the sculpt environment, which is a plane that allows animators to create more complex forms, like cartoon characters. By “twisting” these two worlds together in the design program.
Adding another layer of complexity to the project was the fact that SHS currently does not have a 3D printer at the high school. Luckily they are able to take advantage of a grant from St. Cloud State University’s Technology and Engineering Express. The grant brings a Stratasys 3D printer into the high school for about 3 weeks. During this time, students use the printer to produce prototypes of their designs. Using St. Cloud State’s printer, Mikayla was able to create an ABS plastic version of the different ice cream cone sizes. Now when customers ask, “how big is a large?” they can reference a scaled replica that never melts.