Future Engineer Series: Meet Zach Penland

By Dora Smith

Zach Penland is a sophomore at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He modeled a pair of headphones in Solid Edge. The design and rendering won him the best student image of the year and earned him a spot in in our 2012 calendar.

“I’ve always liked taking things apart and rebuilding them,” Zach says. “I enjoy seeing how stuff works.”

Thus he was destined to study mechanical engineering ;-).


Zach began using Solid Edge in an Intro to CAD class at UA Huntsville. The headphones were his first project. He reversed engineered them.

I asked Zach if he had any other interesting designs or products he’s built. He has designed and built a custom Xbox 360 case, a laser that lights a match, a homemade remote control rock crawler. Off-computer, he is also rebuilding a VW beetle. But perhaps his most interesting project:

“A bar stool go-kart.”

Yep, you read right – he put an engine under a bar stool years ago. He still uses it, displaying it at recent fraternity car show. Check it out:

Zach thinks his dream job will be in robotics or military equipment.

Since Zach won an iPad for being selected for the 2012 calendar student image, he notes he hopes to use mobile CAD and PLM applications on it in the future. He thinks he’d be able to come up with even more design ideas on the go.

Future engineers, check out other design contest winners and submit your Solid Edge-inspired design for a chance to be part of our 2013 calendar.

– Dora

P.S. Future engineers can also connect with current engineers on our Solid Edge Facebook page.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at