Meet Future Engineers Luke Jones and Nathan Wygal

By Dora Smith

solid edge student project

Today, Wikipedia says one of the notable past residents of Searcy, Arkansas, is current Arkansas governor Mike Beebe. In the future, the names Luke Jones and Nathan Wygal might be on that list.

These two high school students attend Searcy High School. They showcased a project they designed in Solid Edge at the recent EAST Initiative conference in Hot Springs.

solid edge student project

The project? A Pneumatic Air Pressure System that is operated by a passing train.

“This system makes productive use of locomotives by using the force they exert when passing by and using that force to power an air compressor.  The weight of the train causes a piston to compress air into an air tank, which is used for storage. The stored air will be used to power a generator that will provide electricity for entire towns. The air is later used to power a generator similar to air-powered windmills.” 

solid edge project

In this video they explain more:

Why did you choose this project/design – what gave you the idea?
“We wanted a challenge to make something new that our community and states nationwide could use for energy efficiency. We chose this project because we were given the notion that energy from a passing train could be captured and converted into electrical energy from retired Arkansas school teacher Embra Alexander. We took that simple idea and knew that an air compressor was already developed. All we had to do was outfit the design to make it operate from a passing train. We discovered that it would be much easier to convert the mechanical energy into fluid energy, or pneumatic pressure, to power an electrical generator that uses a fluid input such as air.”

What features of Solid Edge did you use to develop your project?
“We used all of the tools that the software had to offer such as the ISO Part and the ISO Assembly. Features we used in the workspace were everything from the Revolve to the Extrude feature to assist in the design process.”

 solid edge student project

This is the air compressor system in the final stages of construction.

What lessons did you learn in the process?

“Lessons we learned from the design process were to not create a part until you’ve actually assigned a significant purpose for it in the overall function of the project.  We created parts that we did not assemble to the main design right away and they just became suspended out into the workspace without the capability to move or delete them.”

Would you recommend Solid Edge to another student?

“We would recommend Solid Edge to any student who has the desire to create 3D objects or machines because with this software, you can build anything you can imagine in such vivid detail and it is a perfect learning tool for people who want to become engineers or technicians. Solid Edge gives a much more detailed layout for designs concerning new inventions.”

Thanks to Luke and Nathan for sharing their work. What project should they take on next?

BTW, if you’re a student, you can download Solid Edge for free to use on your next project.

– Dora

P.S. Special thanks to my colleague Patricia Jebeles who works with many of our Solid Edge academic partners and found this story.

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