ZOLLER support for student-run shop

Published Date
September 29, 2023 - 12:00:pm

Editor's Note: This 5-minute video report on Eagle Manufacturing, a student-run business at Brown County High School in Nashville, Indiana, is presented as a video supplement to the following Lead Angle column published in the October 2023 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine.


For those who read this column regularly, you probably know that Cutting Tool Engineering supports the CHAMPION Now organization and its mission to Change How American Manufacturing is Perceived In Our Nation. In short, its goal is to change the image of manufacturing from that of a "dark and dirty" industry to one that elicits a well-paying career on a shop floor that evokes a clean room setting with computer-driven automation and metalcuting machines.

For our part here at CTE, we like to publicize any effort that helps put manufacturing back on the career radar in this country. But doing so is now an uphill battle due to the nationwide push for higher education that gained steam in the 1980s. That increased focus on higher education came at the expense of high school shop classes.

This explains all the classified job ads seeking machinists back in the mid to late 1980s when I would rountinely check out the want ads. Of course, I was looking for marketing communications and publishing jobs, and all I remember seeing were pages of ads for machinists. Had I any shop experience at all at the time, I would have applied. But I didn't have experience, and, worse, I had no idea what being a machinist entailed.

And that is why I am in awe of Eagle Manufacturing, a student-run business at Brown County High School in Nashville, Indiana, that I learned about while attending ZOLLER Inc.'s Automation Days held in August at the company's North American headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"We are trying to get students exposed to as much industry-standard technology as we possibly can, and give them the opportunity to dive into that, learn more about it and understand how that's utilized in the industry and how that can make a business more profitable," said Christopher Townsend, an instructor at the Brown County High School who serves as an advisor for the high school students who run Eagle Manufacturing.

As a guest speaker during the ZOLLER event, Townsend provided the audience with an overview of how Eagle Manufacturing came to be and how it is run, as well as how the business utilizes ZOLLER equipment and software. I urge everyone to watch a 5-minute synopsis of his presentation by using your phone to scan the QR code on this page. The videography won't win any awards — (I did it myself) — but Townsend's presentation speaks for itself.

On a side note

I just want to be sure that any discussion about going to college versus going into manufacturing doesn't foster an "us against them" moment. Higher education is a legitimate route to a career for many of us. However, higher education should not be viewed as the only route to a career for all of us. Manufacturing is legit and more innovating than ever.

Related Glossary Terms

  • arbor


    Shaft used for rotary support in machining applications. In grinding, the spindle for mounting the wheel; in milling and other cutting operations, the shaft for mounting the cutter.

  • lead angle

    lead angle

    Angle between the side-cutting edge and the projected side of the tool shank or holder, which leads the cutting tool into the workpiece.