BRTC machinist students lending new paws to rescue dog, Nubbins

by George Jared ([email protected]) 695 views 

Nubbins, a lab-breed puppy, was rescued several months ago in Greene County. He had a serious problem. The stray was born without front paws, but machinist students at Black River Technical College have a remedy.

BRTC’s Machine Tool Technology (MTT) program is currently working on prosthetic paws for Nubbins, who was rescued by the Greene County Animal Farm. The new set of paws will consist of ventilation holes, joint tolerances, and ergonomically correct padding, which will improve Nubbins’ movement and grip.

Several prototypes will have to be made, and there will be kinks to work out in the design, as no two are the same due to the measurements of the dog, said MTT Instructor Rick Barker.

“We are very excited to see Nubbins again for his measurements and proud we can help him. All of the students are very invested in this project,” Barker said.

Team leader Jakob Barnhill, Krystina Compton, Jonathan Moody, Jywon Green, and Hank Dubois are the students working on the prosthetics.

Rescuers think the puppy was born without his front paws, or he could have been involved in some type of accident. According to BarkBox, about 6% of all dogs are born with some type of physical abnormality.

Genetic issues often from inbreeding, trauma to the mother, chemical exposure while in the womb are also factors that can cause abnormalities.

Rescuers at the Animal Farm said that Nubbins’ deformity makes it especially hard for him to roam freely outdoors due to the tenderness of the skin on his front legs. So, he lives a life indoors. The MTT students hope to make it so that Nubbins can live a more normal life with his new prosthetics. The project should be finished in late April or early May, Barker said.

The MTT program consists of a wide variety of machining. Machinists and toolmakers design and create prototypes, fixtures, jigs, and tooling/dies from which most metal and other manufactured items are made, which includes large heavy machinery to small hand tools. Working in a fully equipped machine shop, students in the machine tool technology program gain the knowledge and skills needed to cut, machine, mill/turn, metals and 3d print polymers/carbon/onyx when regarding NIMS assigned projects.

U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics projects a steady demand for machinists as the decade continues to unfold. An average of about 45,000 new machinists positions will become available annually. The sector isn’t expected to add jobs, but these openings will come as a result of retirements.

The average wage for a machinist is a little more than $47,000 per year, but that can balloon to nearly $100,000 based on multiple factors, including advanced training, specific job type, geographic location and others. There are currently about 400,000 machinists jobs available nationwide, the Bureau reported.

This high-precision trade requires the development of high-demand skills in the use of hand tools, precision measuring instruments, testing equipment, and basic, automatic, and computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) machine tools and programming. The program also covers heat-treating tool steel and alloying material, as well as accident prevention, leadership, and quality control.

Nubbins wasn’t listed on the Farm’s adoption list as of Wednesday (March 29).