WSU engineering student wins national manufacturing competition

By Erik Gomez, intern, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Christian Ziruk_wsu engineering

PULLMAN, Wash – Christian Ziruk, a mechanical engineering senior in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, recently earned first place in the Mastercam Wildest Parts Competition.

This is the third year in a row that one of WSU’s mechanical engineering students has placed in the top three in this competition. The annual contest challenges students from around the world to design and produce high-quality machine parts that haven’t been made before.

Mastercam is an international developer of PC-based computer-aided design / computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software.

Ziruk’s entry was a camera housing he developed for an underwater autonomous vehicle used by the Palouse Robosub Club in national competitions.

“I wanted to make sure my camera housing was lighter, more stable, and created in the most efficient way,” said Ziruk.

ChristianZiruk_wsu engineering
Ziruk, a mechanical engineering major, developed a camera housing for an underwater autonomous vehicle used by the Palouse Robosub Club in national competitions

Under the supervision of instructor Robert “Kurt” Hutchinson, Ziruk used Mastercam’s manufacturing software and a computer numeric control (CNC) milling machine to create a new program that cut the camera housing out of an aluminum block.

“I’ve had the privilege and distinction to have Christian working alongside me for over two years in the Cougarshop,” said Hutchinson.  “I would run out of adjectives describing him, but a few come to mind –  selfless, dedicated and hard-working. That doesn’t touch how brilliant of an engineering student he is. Absolutely one of the finest engineering students I’ve met and had the pleasure to teach in my over 30 years working for VCEA at WSU.”

Ziruk has been a teaching assistant in the WSU Coug Shop for several years, where he has mentored, helped, and taught hundreds of students. He is a multiple-year recipient of a Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship, awarded to students involved in CNC manufacturing.

For receiving top prize, Ziruk received $1,000 cash and $40,000 worth of Mastercam’s PC-based computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software. Mastercam will showcase Ziruk’s entry for a year at conferences and events around the country.



Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095,

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