Complete "Reality Redesigned" Student Manufacturing Competition Series Now Streaming Online

The live competition created by Edge Factor involves junior high and high school students meeting challenges in engineering and manufacturing. Representatives from Mastercam, NIMS and MMS judge the competition. Watch the entire series for free.


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I recently got to be part of a great experience with Edge Factor, the film production company focused on engaging and informing young people about careers in manufacturing. Earlier this year, the Edge Factor team partnered with Randolph Community College of Asheboro, North Carolina, to organize, oversee and film a contest called “Reality Redesigned.” High school and junior high students throughout the surrounding area submitted designs addressing various defined engineering problems, and three winning teams from this round of submissions came to the college’s Gene Haas Computer-Integrated Machining Institute to compete against one another in an on-site competition. In the final round, each team had 84 hours to work with the staff and resources of the college to design and produce a new sign for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s facility in nearby Mooresville, North Carolina.

I traveled to Asheboro to be one of the judges at the end of this 84-hour contest, as did Meghan West, president of CNC Software (developers of Mastercam) and Montez King, executive director of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS). None of us knew quite what to expect ... and one of the real joys of the experience proved to be seeing audience members from the three teams’ schools and community turn out to root for the competitors in the live-presentation portion of the program. Here was an auditorium full of fans cheering for achievements in manufacturing.

To produce their different signs, the competitors were exposed to CAM programming; waterjet and other metal cutting; material selection and the properties of different metals; and welding and painting. All of this is depicted in the Reality Redesigned series, which is produced by Edge Factor and available for streaming from edgefactor.com. Watch the show or, perhaps even better, invite the teen or tween in your life to watch it with you.