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CALDWELL - Two juniors from Caldwell High School unveiled a three-dimensional modeling project on Monday that administrators from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) say will drastically change the way the public is educated on oil and gas operations.
"This model is unlike anything I have ever seen before," said Rhonda Reda, executive director of OOGEEP. "This is pre-engineering at its finest and we are really excited to be a part of it."
Brandon Steed and Trevor Ramage, 11th grade CAD students, spent several months designing and building the 26-layer model that stands three feet tall and includes etched labels of each geological formation set to scale. Steed and Ramage have been working on the project since September when they were approached by Mike Schott, the CAD and Robotics instructor at Caldwell High School.
"I saw that they were excelling at their normal CAD studies and asked if they wanted an extra project to work on," said Schott. "They started by designing the very bottom layer, and then they just really took off."
Mike was originally approached by OOGEEP to create the model as a way to help explain the horizontal drilling process.
"I can't believe we basically just handed them a picture on a sheet of paper and they turned it into this in just a few months," said Mark Bruce, OOGEEP's communications director.
Embedded in the center of the model is a scaled version of a horizontal hydraulic fracturing well, complete with different sizes of casing and concrete layers made out of metal tubing. The boys say this was one of the most intricate parts about the project because they did not drill the hole for the well, but instead built the cutout for the well into their model as it was created.
"That took the most time really, creating that small impression on the front of each layer so we could insert the tubing later," said Steed. "It turned out well though."
OOGEEP officials think so too and say they are excited to use the model in upcoming presentations for local schools and the public.
"It is really amazing to see it laid out like that and will be a great teaching tool," said Charlie Dixon, Safety and Workforce director for OOGEEP.
The model is not just a static depiction of geologic formations. The casing in the well cavities can be removed to show how each string of casing is lowered into the well and cemented in place, and the layers can be disconnected from one another to offer a host of teaching options. According to Schott, the project used computer aided manufacturing and was printed with one of two polylactic acid three-dimensional printers owned by Caldwell High School's pre-engineering department.
"The model required over 450 machine hours, which doesn't even include the time to design the project. Brandon and Trevor then used four million coordinates to actually create the three-dimensional model," said Schott. "It took two days to print each layer and then it had to be assembled, so it was quite a project."
When asked what their plans were for the future, the boys were career-focused.
"An engineering job would be great," said Steed. "I would like to get into a good school with a solid engineering program, then move on to an engineering position with a well-known company after that."
Their first task however is to continue working with Schott on additional engineering projects. Reda surprised the boys and Schott by presenting them with a $500 check to support their ongoing work and upcoming competitions, saying it was the least OOGEEP could do.
"We are an organization that is focused on education and this model will help tremendously. It changes the game for us," Reda said.