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2010 WESTEC Team (l-r): Martin Aispuro, Mark Hirami, Ian van den Bosch, Paul Katsumura, Felipe Ortiz, Professor Jai Hong, Steven Jimenez, Roman Kuchma, John Morris, Thomas Cisneros, Michael Frausto, and
Professor Virgil Seaman.

CSULA’s top-notch team

Manufacturing Challenge

Ian Eric van den Bosch, senior, Industrial Technology, West Covina (captain; project management, documentation)

Martin Aispuro, senior, Industrial Technology, South Gate (public relations, graphic design, photography)

Mark Hirami, graduate student, Industrial Technology, Rosemead (manufacturing expert, CAD/CAM design)

Thomas Cisneros, senior, Industrial Technology, Los Angeles (CAD/CAM operator, manufacturing expert)

Michael Frausto, graduate student, Industrial Technology, Los Angeles (machinist, documentation)

Roman Kuchma, senior, Industrial Technology, Highland Park (CAD design, graphic design)

John Morris, graduate student, Mechanical Engineering, Bradbury (mechanics, quality control)

Felipe Ortiz, junior, Industrial Technology, Palmdale (design, fabrication)

Paul Katsumura, junior, Industrial Technology, Los Angeles (machinist, design)

Steven Jimenez, senior, Industrial Technology, Lynwood (machinist, tool specialist)

How the WESTEC was won

10-student team manufactures metallic grandfather clock for top prize in SME’s Challenge

It’s about time.

Ten engineering and technology students from Cal State L.A. – with a grandfather clock they made of brass, aluminum and steel – teamed up to take the grand prize at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) WESTEC Manufacturing Challenge March 23 in Los Angeles.

For Q & A with Ian van den Bosch, the 2010 WESTEC team’s captain, go to

A rhythm-setting pendulum drives the precise articulation of the clock’s intricate components.

Photo of grandfather clock project.

According to team captain Ian van den Bosch, “The Challenge was for each school to produce a creative product that could be manufactured, and to also document the process clearly. We have worked extremely hard and have sacrificed necessities like sleeping in order to win this competition.”

Held in conjunction with SME’s WESTEC 2010 exposition, the competition included teams representing seven colleges and universities.

The Grand Champion award was a first for Cal State L.A. Three members of the 2010 team – Thomas Cisneros, Mike Frausto and Mark Hirami – were also on the 2008 team that garnered a first-place award with boundary-layer turbines; and the 2004 team received a first-place award for its recumbent tricycle.

According to Frausto, “This was truly a department and team effort. Students from past and present really helped the team get over the hump – be it with advice, constructive criticism, a keen eye, or an extra pair of hands on a lathe.”

He called the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology (ECST) a place “where everyone knows everyone.”

“We are a truly a close-knit group. We cheer for other school projects’ success,” he said. “I’m proud to be associated with CSULA and especially with the 2010 WESTEC team.”

Photo of brass gear part.

The team’s faculty advisor was Jai Hong, associate professor of Industrial Technology. Also providing key help from the department were Blake Cortis, staff technician, graduate student and previous WESTEC team captain; senior Danley Dizon; alumnus Luis Acevedo; and Professor Virgil Seaman.

In the WESTEC Manufacturing Challenge, student teams choose, design, build and present their own project. According to the competition’s rules: “Any type of engineering principle, concept, or process may be applied in the design and manufacturing of the project entry. Conventional or automated manufacturing processes, robots, vision systems, programmable controllers, computers, material handling systems, or any other manufacturing process may be used individually or in any combination.”

The team gives a 10-minute presentation of the project’s details to the judges, who may deduct points if show-and-tell runs long. Up to 10 minutes of judges’ questions follows. The rules advise: “This will allow each student team a total of 20 minutes to explain their project to the judges. Use the time wisely.”

No problem. That would be second nature after manufacturing “Kronos,” a Grand Champion grandfather clock.

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Last Update: 01/12/2016