Home Lifestyle RichmondCC student builds small engine for drafting project

RichmondCC student builds small engine for drafting project

Richmond Community College student Robert Lewis stands with the two different parts of his CAD III project: a small engine and gear housing.

HAMLET — Richmond Community College student Robert Lewis created a working small engine and gear box with over 100 parts as his final project in one of his Mechanical Engineering Technology classes last fall semester. The project became so complex, he put in time outside of class to complete it.

“The project had 110 parts. The major components were the engine block, the cylinder head, the crankcase housing, and the oil pan. The moving components are the crankshaft assembly and the piston assembly,” Lewis said. “The engine components move just like a real engine would move. The crank was created to provide rotation of the crankshaft that would be provided by the internal combustion in a real engine.”

Lewis created the whole thing using SolidWorks, a solid modeling computer aided design and computer aided engineering application. He printed each part on the 3D printer in the Mechanical Engineering lab and then assembled the engine block and gear house. He also made animated designs showing how each part fits together in the engine block.

Mechanical Engineering Technology instructor Annie Harden was blown away by Lewis’ project. 

“The engine block assembly and the 3D printed model are amazing. Robert did an awesome job,” Harden said. “He not only constructed one for himself, but also one for the program. This project is a testament to what an exceptional student he is.”

Lewis said he’s always been interested in engineering and computer aided drafting. 

“This project verified what I already suspected. The design possibilities are endless and very exciting,” Lewis said.


Lewis is currently completing an internship at Richardson Thermal Control Industries Inc., where he is helping to design machines to manufacture automotive parts. The company has already offered him a full-time position as an engineering design technician.

Lewis, of Laurinburg, graduates in May with an Associate in Applied Sciences in Mechanical Engineering, along with a certificate in Electronics Engineering and a certificate in Computer Aided Drafting.


Previous articleJudge ends Biden’s mask mandate on planes and trains
Next articleOPINION: Student Loan Forgiveness: Don’t confuse policy with politics