Plainfield Central engineering students improve man’s wheelchair
Incoming Plainfield High School-Central Campus sophomore Sarah Lauss works on a control knob for a motorized wheelchair during class in May 2022. Fifteen students in Robert McGahey's 3D and engineering classes designed 25 replacement knobs to help a PHSCC social worker's relative

Plainfield High School-Central Campus students in Robert McGahey’s 3D and engineering classes designed an ergonomic wheelchair control knob to help a PHSCC colleague. A relative of PHSCC social worker Alan Bank has multiple sclerosis and uses a motorized wheelchair. It was difficult for him to use the small control knob on his wheelchair, McGahey said. Thestudents created prototypes of bigger knobs so it would be easier for Bank’s relative to maneuver. Students took their ideas from concept art to 3D resin prototypes.

“Students 3D printed their prototypes, and Mr. Bank was able to test each design, gathering feedback to bring back to the designers on adjustments or edits that would further improve the fit and function,” McGahey explained.

Fifteen students made more than 25 prototypes of the knob and accord to Bank, their relative is using three of the student made knobs.