Industrial Design Program Gets $85K Machine Donation

Student uses donated Trak Machine

December 07, 2021 - 10:16 AM

Student uses donated Trak machineThe Industrial Design Engineering Program received a donation of three hybrid manual/CNC milling machines from Trak Machine Tools, a subsidiary of Southwestern Industries, Inc. The donation in total, according to Professor Stephen James, is worth about $85,000. Rich Leonhard, CEO and Chairman of Southwestern Industries, and his wife Marion made the donation through the Mt. SAC Foundation & Alumni Association.

Stephen James instructs student on how to use donated Trak machine“These special machines are incredibly useful to our program,” said James. “We teach manual machining and we teach computer-controlled (CNC) machining, but this new equipment is a hybrid of the two and will greatly help our students to transition between the two.”


Student uses donated Trak machineHaving such global skills in machining greatly aids students in securing employment, ensuring they will be able to use whatever machines an employer may have.

“The critical thing is that students feel how the machine moves,” explained James. “When in manual mode, you can feel how the machine is cutting and make decisions while it is cutting to perfect the result.”

An employee of Trak contacted James to let him know that these machines would be donated to a college program, so James wrote a rationale of how the machines would be used.

Stephen James instructs students in milling“I guess we had the best rationale,” speculated James.