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SDEX Shared Design Experience

The Cougar Lean (CLEAN) system

ME Seniors Ryan Pitzer, Jake Enslow, and Austin Rapp

In the fall of 2016 three ME seniors, Ryan Pitzer, Jake Enslow, and Austin Rapp decided to contribute to the future of ME design at WSU. Originally tasked with identifying and developing a plan for a new design space, the three came to the realization that the opportunity for design in ME was not in the space, the current EEME 154 space was already adequate, the problem was in standardization of safe workspaces. After reviewing workbench design texts and consulting with faculty, students, and alumni, they realized the vision for the Cougar Lean (CLEAN) workbench system: an open source technology project that serves as a starting design project for ME students.

The Cougar LEAN (CLEAN) workbench

The CLEAN bench has an extruded aluminum frame rim which creates a jigging/fixturing surface over the entire benchtop. The frame allow for numerous customizations specific to the manufacturing/project needs. The students make a real engineering product that they then use for their capstone projects the following semester. This creates a positive feedback loop analogous to the farmer adage, “you reap what you sow.” These workbenches can be bolted together into island configurations or assembly lines based on need. From a pedagogical standpoint the entire system is analogous to the workspace mats and trays used by the Montessori system of education.

Assembling many of these tables into the EEME 154 classroom provides a new vision for the space:

Vision for the EEME 154 Design Space with the CLEAN benches.

In December of 2016, MME advisory board member JP Whitlock realized the potential for the CLEAN benches within a new development at IMTECH-OR. And so the building began.

After working with faculty and staff to establish the purpose and use of the table the follow SolidWorks drawings were created. Ultimately, some of the dimensions and connection methods were altered but the following two documents demonstration our original design intent (CLEAN Workbench Isometric Drawing, CLEAN Workbench Dimensions).

This process began with a maple butcher block 68.5 inches long and 28.5 inches wide which would serve as the work surface for the CLEAN bench.
After being securely fasted to an existing workbench to prevent any unwanted movement during manufacturing, 5 equal spaced holes were drilled on to each of the long ends of the maple block.
Threaded inserts were then set into the each of these holes. These were to be used as anchor points for the extruded aluminum that would surround the wood block.Holes were then drilled into the 68.5 inch piece of extruded aluminum, using a drill press, at intervals identical to those on the side of the work surface. The extruded aluminum was then fastened to the wood using socket screws.The ends of extruded aluminum were then tapped to allow for the attachment of a rounded corner piece.End pieces were then cut to 28.5 inches to fit along the bare edge of the maple butcher block.Legs were then cut, tapped and attached to the workbench frame using brackets.Casters were screwed into the end of the workbench legs and the legs were supported using a crossbeam.
The end pieces of extruded aluminum were attached to the leg using a bracket, similar to the manner that the legs were attached to the side pieces of aluminum.

Awaiting the finishing touches, this prototype CLEAN workbench provides a base model for students to build from.

CLEAN Workbench #1 was finished January 24th, 2017. Although, it this process was long and much more arduous than expected we believe that this will serve as a model for many workbenches to come. We are excited to see where future students take this project.

Ryan, Jake, and Austin’s original presentation is here: Cougar Lean Workbench System. The Spring 2017 ME 415 class took the Cougar Lean Workbench System idea, and created four functional workbenches, which will be used by future WSU engineering students to facilitate their design projects. Below are the details of how the CLEAN workbench developed from the prototype design.

Spring 2017 CLEAN Workbench Project

The final design for the WSU CLEAN Workbench System


While the primary focus of the Spring 2017 ME415 class was to gain experience with the real-world design process and with maintaining an open dialogue with a client to ensure that a quality and functional design was developed, another focus of this class was to build on improving WSU’s ME design workspace through the Cougar LEAN (CLEAN) workbench system proposed by three ME seniors, Ryan Pitzer, Jake Enslow, and Austin Rapp. Although the current design space used by ME students to work on projects is satisfactory, the CLEAN workbench system would provide students with a better and safer space to allow design projects to come to fruition and to build experience in hands-on problem-solving, which is paramount to a burgeoning engineer’s skill set. In having a better design space, it is hoped that WSU ME students will be encouraged to more actively apply classroom knowledge to create innovative design solutions for any problems they may be tasked with, which may be related to something as simple as a class project to something as complicated as a senior capstone project. Once the workbench, which was specifically designed to be meet our client’s cleanroom needs, was designed, and a plan was developed to manufacture several of these cleanroom workbenches, the Spring 2017 ME 415 class began production of the CLEAN workbench system. Although the prototype for the CLEAN workbench system had been developed, the processes involved in the manufacturing of this workbench needed to be optimized for efficiency such that multiple CLEAN workbenches could be uniformly produced to outfit the entire ME design space for future WSU ME students. Furthermore, it was important that the optimized manufacturing process outline the entire part ordering, part cutting, and assembly steps, so future WSU ME students could reproduce the CLEAN workbench without difficulty in the case that more CLEAN workbenches were needed for the WSU ME design space.

The prototype design that was developed for the WSU CLEAN workbench system

CLEAN Workbench Purchase Order

Bill of Materials

Directions for Cutting Bosch Tubing

*Mark and cut 1-by-1 to account for blade width loss of material.

  1. Load a piece of 20’ long tubing
  2. Cut A1 at 32 – 1/2”
  3. Cut A2 at 32 – 1/2”
  4. Cut A3 at 32 – 1/2”
  5. Cut A4 at 32 – 1/2”
  6. Cut D1 at 63 – 9/16”
  7. Cut E1 at 24”
  8. Cut B1 at 20 – 7/16”
  9. Load the next piece of 20’ tubing
  10. Cut D2 at 63 – 9/16”
  11. Cut C1 at 56 – 1/2”
  12. Cut E2 at 24”
  13. Cut B2 at 20 – 7/16”

Finish – Required Time ~ 1.5 hrs.

CLEAN Workbench Cut List

CLEAN Workbench Drill List

*Not including table top, that will be hand-drilled.

Parts Needed:

Manual Mill

17 mm Drill Bit

6 Vertical Quick-Connects

4 Horizontal Quick-Connects

Location of Hole:

22.5mm centered on each end, thru-hole.

Drill 2 holes total, 1 on each side and oriented in the same direction.

Part No.:






*Part No.’s are listed on the CLEAN Workbench cut list.

The CLEAN Workbench has been assembled from all of the cut pieces. Casters still need to be added to the workbench assembly.

CLEAN Workbench Assembly Instructions

The CLEAN Workbench is being assembled.

Components Needed

Vertical quick connects: 10x

Wood table top: 1x

Figure 1: vertical quick connect

Figure 2: The cut members needed for the CLEAN workbench system.

Quick Connect Usage:

A quick connect is used by inserting the cylindrical piece into the pre-drilled hole in the Bosch tubing. Once the cylindrical part is in place, insert the t-bar-shaped part of the quick connect into the end of the Bosch tubing so it fits snuggly inside the cylindrical piece. Ensure the divet in the t-bar (see figure 1) is facing the underside of the plug.

The black O-ring on the t-bar should be just barely visible when the t-bar is inserted correctly through the Bosch and into the cylinder portion of the quick connect (see figure 3). Slide the next conecting Bosch tube member over the t-bar and use an 8mm Allen wrench to tighten the plug, which will suck in the t-bar and second connecting Bosch tube member.

(Note: 8mm Allen Wrench is required)

Frame assembly:


  1.      Insert Vertical quick connects into both sides of member C1.
  2.      Slide member C1 into members B1 and B2 using the quick connects on either side.
  3.      Once C1 is centered between B1 and B2, tighten all quick connects using an 8mm Allen wrench.
  4.      Attach vertical quick connects to both ends of parts B1 and B2 and slide on legs (A1-A4) down into the short bottom pieces.
  5.      Adjust the height of the legs to a desired position and tighten all the vertical quick connects.
  6. This concludes the frame assembly.

Figure 5: The members of the frame for the CLEAN workbench


Tabletop Assembly


  1.      Insert 6 vertical quick connects in the wood tabletop and leave loose.
  2.      Slide on part D1 on either long side of the tabletop. This should use only two of the quick connects on the table.
  3.      Insert part E1 on the short side of the tabletop and make sure it is flush with D1, only using one quick connect.
  4.      Slide on part E2 on the opposite side of the short end and make sure it is flush with member D1.
  5.      Now slide on part D2 on the last long side of the tabletop and make sure it is lined up on the corners with members E1 and E2, making a 90-degree angle.
  6.      Tighten all quick connects and make sure that each member is flush against the wood tabletop.
  7.      This concludes the Tabletop Assembly.Figure 6: The bottom of the tabletop and how Bosch member D1 fits on the quick connects

Final Table Assembly


  1.  The best way to attach the frame to the tabletop is to put the tabletop on the ground with the quick connect holes facing up.
  2.  Place the frame on top of the table on the ground and adjust the four legs so that they are in the corner of the wood tabletop but not touching the Bosch tubing.
  3.  Align two brackets on the wood corners of each leg and align them so that a quick connect can be put in the Bosch.
  4.  Drill through the wood that aligns the bracket hole and secure it with a screw.
  5.  Put a quick connect through the topside of the angle bracket and secure it with a nut.
  6.  Repeat steps 16-18 on each of the remaining three legs.
  7.  This concludes the table assembly.

Figure 7: The angle brackets connecting the wooden tabletop and the legs of the CLEAN workbench

Figure 8: The completed CLEAN workbench assembly

Figure 9: SOLIDWORKS drawing of the CLEAN workbench

Figure 10: SOLIDWORKS drawing of CLEAN workbench with bill of materials