MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – GREG KUCHYT
Greg Kuchyt is the current Metal Shop & CNC Router shop lead at Generator. Before his time in Vermont, he originally resided in the North Country of New York. He moved to Vermont in 2013, and as an avid climber, he enjoyed climbing a lot of the local cliffs. He noticed the poor condition of some of the anchors used by climbers for fall protection. Greg emphasized that these anchors are “ a life critical piece of equipment” and he got involved with a national movement seeking to effect the replacement of inadequate/improper anchors with standardized and vetted equipment.
Greg’s volunteer work in the replacement of anchors led him to Generator. He learned that all of the tools required to replace such critical climbing equipment are custom one-off tools that do not exist through any commercial means. With no metal working experience Greg sought out local machine shops to produce the various components needed, but none of the shops he contacted responded to his inquiries. This issue turned into an opportunity as Greg learned about Generator, which had two tools he needed: a lathe and a mill. As Greg puts it “Generator has been a tremendous resource for me but also has been a resource that provides to the local climbing community, and at a national level as well.”
Since then Greg has poured countless hours into creating these tools and replacing over 600 of these anchors which has contributed tremendously towards improved climbers’ safety. Greg notes that while “it’s unlikely these things (anchors) will fail, when they do the consequences are pretty severe.” Greg noted that failures of climbing anchors have caused serious and even fatal accidents in the past. As a result, climbing organizations around the world are now tackling the issues related to replacing inadequate and aging anchors. Greg fully appreciates the barriers that exist to these organizations’ ability to remove these anchors and he has volunteered his expertise through conferences, presentations/clinics, and as a resource/tool maker for others to ensure appropriate vetted equipment is in place for climbers across the nation.
Throughout this process, Greg was exposed to the world of machining, material science, and tenets of engineering in general. Greg is excited by material science and the comprehensive nature of designing effective mechanical devices. Originally, Greg studied computer science and worked as a Linux systems engineer at the State University of New York and University of Vermont. In 2020, Greg transitioned into the manufacturing industry to continue his learning of machining and to apply his experience from IT systems and programming. Currently, he works as a product developer at a manufacturing engineering group that specializes in the application of CNC technology, specifically post processor development and the commissioning of digital twins; digital twins are digital replicas of a CNC machine. According to Greg, these digital twins allow users to simulate the condition of materials and catch undesirable events like crashes of a machine. “We want to be able to emulate a lot of the real world in the digital space because it’s easier to fail in the digital space versus failing in the real world.” In turn, these processes are critical in the high-value low volume manufacturing world where scraped parts are costly and waste ultimately gets pushed on the consumer/tax payer.
Greg continues to use his manufacturing experience to grow and support Generator’s emerging Fabrication Services, where custom solutions are provided to other non-profits of the City of Burlington. Greg believes that workforce development strengthens a community especially during times of need. As he puts it “There is a lot of value in having a community that is more aware of how modern manufacturing processes work because it makes that community more robust and resilient to external influences.” One example is when Generator, Burlington City Arts and the Church Street Marketplace collaborated to create huts for the Winter Artist Market in 2020. Greg lent his experience in concert with the Generator team of staff and volunteers to design and optimize the manufacturing process of the winter sheds. As a result, local artists had an opportunity to sell and promote their art safely during the pandemic.
Greg continues to support and help at the Generator whenever he can. His current project is to “try to be like a sponge and grow as a human.”
Intro To Digital Manufacturing: Laguna CNC Router Training Course
If you’re interested in learning more about Generator’s CNC and Digital Manufacturing technology, check out the upcoming series of trainings listed below that will provide students with an introduction to digital manufacturing and CNC router operation. Students will cover CAD/CAM software and CNC machine tool operation to produce a custom smartphone docking station. Students will be guided through the processes of creating 3D models in CAD and programming the manufacturing process in CAM followed by step by step instruction for safe operation of the CNC router.