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Riata Center releases list of Cowboy100 honorees

Our beloved Chief Executive Officer, Denise McIntosh was named to list of upcoming honorees for the Riata Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to honor the third Cowboy100 Honoree Gala celebrating the business and leadership achievements of OSU graduate-owned or -led businesses. The gala will be held on March 29 at the Wes Watkins Center in Stillwater.

The Cowboy100 serves as a resource for students to engage with industry leaders, allows the Riata Center to be the reference point for entrepreneurship throughout the university and to raise funds for the Riata Center’s student programs and activities.

As part of the Cowboy100, the highest top-line revenue generating honorees for the years being measured are recognized on the Blazing10 list. While the overall list celebrates growth, the Blazing10 focuses primarily on top-line revenue, another important measure of business success.

“We are happy to release the list of the 2024 Cowboy100 honorees,” said Marc Tower, assistant dean for Outreach and Economic Development at the Spears School of Business. “The quality and diversity of this group is inspiring. We have companies and leaders from multiple industries, and from companies large and small. It is exciting to celebrate and share the hard work and success of these outstanding OSU graduates and Cowboy leaders. We look forward to celebrating their achievements on March 29.”

For more information and the complete list:


Napkin Sketch: A Non-Stop Flight Around the World

Note-taking apps on smartphones have made capturing ideas as easy as speaking them into the air. But for engineers, nothing beats putting pen to paper and sketching them out by hand.

One day in 1980, Burt and Dick Rutan imagined an airplane that could make it around the world and never stop for fuel. By the latter half of the 20th century, it seemed that all the major aviation records had been set except one: the longest non-stop flight.

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In 1981, the brothers sat down to lunch with aviator Jeana Yeager. There, on a napkin, they sketched what would eventually become the record-breaking Rutan Voyager.

A Flying Fuel Tank

The Rutan Voyager was almost more of a fuel tank than an airplane. Using lightweight, graphite honeycomb materials, the empty Voyager weighed less than 1,000 pounds. It was then filled with over 7,000 pounds of fuel.

In a 747, that’s barely enough to cover the 400 miles from Atlanta to Tampa. This plane needed to fly nearly 25,000 miles.

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The Rutan Voyager had 17 fuel tanks: eight on each wing and one in the middle. Because fuel accounted for over 73 percent of the weight, it took the craft more than two minutes to get down the runway before taking off.

Once it was finally airborne, the flight plan was dictated by nature.

9 Days, 3 Minutes, 44 Seconds

There was only about a quarter-inch of material that separated the pilots from the elements outside. Every bit of turbulence was a threat to the craft, so the flight path was made up as they went. It mostly cruised at a mere 8,000 feet, but would occasionally climb as high as 20,000 feet to avoid storms.

Typhoon Marge in the Pacific was both a threat and a boon to the mission. Meteorologists were able to help the pilots navigate around the storm and also take advantage of the “slingshot” effect from the added tailwinds.

While storms over Africa and near Brazil posed a significant challenge, it was a blockage in a fuel pump that almost doomed the flight on the final day. Air pockets stopped one of the engines and The Voyager dropped 5,000 feet. Pilots Yeager and Rutan were able to restart a front engine, level the plane off at about 3,500 feet, and land a few hours later right where they began at Edwards Air Force Base. They had just 100 pounds of fuel left to spare.

From Sketch to Creation

We love this story because it reminds us what can happen when engineers think big. Customers have come to us trying to solve a problem other companies passed on. Sometimes the invention results in “the strangest thing anyone has seen,” but it gets the job done.

What can we invent for you? Call us at 417-868-8002 or use our contact form. We literally fly around the world when people need us!

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Werner Stengel, the Thrill-Seeking Engineer_blog

Werner Stengel, the Thrill-Seeking Engineer

You are strapped into your seat, the roller coaster cart slowly crawling forward when you see a hill approaching up ahead. You start to get nervously excited as the cart ascends, knowing that you will shortly be subjected to massive amounts of force and speed. Once the cart reaches the top, you take a quick breath before being plunged downward, feeling your stomach flop as you ride through all of the twists and turns. By the end of the ride, you are smiling and laughing and have adrenaline running through your body. The thrill of this feeling is hard to match.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why hurling your body through so many loops and spins isn’t unbearably uncomfortable? Well, for that, you can thank an engineer.

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Stengel Applies Science to Fun

One of the most widely-known roller coaster engineers is Werner Stengel, who is recognized for his significant contributions to the advancement of coaster design.

Stengel has devoted his life to studying the forces that act upon the human body, and how to utilize these forces in a way that creates the most enjoyment for the rider. He has been involved with the design of almost 500 roller coasters around the world.

In 2005, he was even awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Göteborg “in recognition of his inexhaustible creativity which connects physics and design with the experience of the body in roller coasters and other rides.”

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Stengel’s Stand-Out Coaster Innovations

A well-recognized roller coaster feature created by Stengel is the clothoid loop, which most roller coaster enthusiasts have grown to love. To accomplish this, he analyzed the amount of stress the body endures during vertical loops and improved the design so that could be lessened. The clothoid loop has a constant radius change, so the body is not continuously under the same amount of stress the whole time.

Another noteworthy original design feature of Stengel’s is the heartline roll. Stengel noticed that if the coaster rail is the center of rotation, then the rider’s body (and especially the head) travels a great distance and experiences a lot of extreme forces during a spin. However, he determined, if the center of rotation is the rider’s heart, the head does not travel as far, therefore decreasing stress and discomfort.

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Both of these advancements promote an overall more comfortable and enjoyable experience for the rider. So, those who love to ride the loops and spins can thank Stengel for making it as easy on the body as possible.

Werner Stengel’s work is an excellent example of how one person’s ingenuity combined with the science of engineering can be not only practical but also super fun!


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Image of notes from Additive Manufacturing Conference

Our Notes From The RAPID + TCT 2019 Additive Manufacturing Conference

We just returned from Detroit with our heads and hearts full of excitement for the additive manufacturing industry. Rarely have we seen such a neat combination of talent and passion!

Because we pride ourselves not only on our work in the additive manufacturing space, but in our relationships and processes, we thought you might find it interesting to see the notes we took/typed during our time in Detroit. Know that we’ll be working to add answers to these questions and solutions to these issues to Custom Powder’s additive manufacturing page in the coming days and weeks, but if you’re ready to talk now, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Notes from additive manufacturing conference in DetroitThe end-users I talked to understand the need for the larger batch size for blending and feeding. Their dilemma is that their powder supplier provides product in 50 lb containers and they desire to empty them so they can make the larger batch that either goes to a blender or to the process. Air quality emissions and health exposure is a growing, even a necessary requirement. I’ll be going to a presentation on the AM emission problems with OSHA/EPA this afternoon.

It will take some time before suppliers change their methods using larger containers. [Some powder suppliers are considering this and are interested in talking to us.]

The surplus powder reclaim is a growth area. Several machine suppliers offer a module that collects, sifts, and pneumatically transport the surplus directly back to the feed bin. But, there is growing concern about what % is acceptable.

I believe as volume increases, there will be a need to blend the surplus at a specific %. A system that can blend raw powder with the surplus reclaimed powder before feeding the AM process will soon be in demand.

As a side note, I have considerable experience with feeding either by LIW or Gain-in-weight multiple feed bins. It becomes more challenging as the number of feed bins increase. The end users I talked to are talking about 3 to 5 machines from one source feed bin.

Keep in mind that we have already laid out a system for a client to fill multiple machines at once utilizing one of our small bins and a “Y” spout.

Potential further questions are:

1).  what will they do with excess materials?

2).  What amount can they reclaim and what does that process look like? (most times they can screen and use some spent mixed with good material)

3).  Problem with the 50lb bottles is a risk in completing a long run (48 +/-hours).  If there is a gap caused by switch over, the product is potentially scrapped and the time wasted.

3.1)  Anything larger containing the product, will have to be manipulated with a Lift capable of rotation as well as proximity to the machine.  The material typically weighs 200+lb so a mobile lift will need to get up close and personal with the machine.

Bob Luebbe

—–Original Message—–
From: Chris Volz
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 11:09 AM
To: Bob Luebbe
Cc: Denise McIntosh
Subject: Other AM Ideas


A challenge that AM end users talk to me about is how to empty currently supplied 50 lb containers of AM metals with less exposure to workers.

Also, what I’m hearing today in Conferences is the need to weigh dispense blended larger batch to multiple machines.

For these reasons:
(i) There is a need to improve quality by decreasing variability in end product part being produced.
(ii) decrease labor to pour smaller 50 lb containers for production machine

Another potential high growth area is engineered polymer compounds powder handling equipment. There is a major shortage of engineered compounds needed for 3D printing. Polymer/compounded will respond — we can provide solutions for the polymer compounded. I have some ideas already sketched.

We’re proud to have Chris, Bob, and Denise on our team, and we’re also pretty fond of starting with sketches around here. Since we do so much custom work and every problem presents its own unique set of challenges, we’ve developed a pretty strong passion for napkin sketches. Some of the world’s greatest solutions started out the same way. If you’re interested in learning more about the why, hows, and whos of the ways we do the things we do, sign up here to receive our emails.

School Tour

Custom Powder Gives WINGS to Gifted Children

“These kids are the engineers and designers of the future.” – Debbie Clary, Teacher for WINGS program

Custom Powder Systems recently welcomed around 100 students from the WINGS program to tour our facility in Springfield, MO.

WINGS stands for Working with the Individual Needs of Gifted Students. It’s a K-8th grade program that offers weekly classes for over 650 gifted students from public, private, and religious schools, as well as homeschooled children. These classes range from Robotics to Shakespeare to Chemistry to the Science of Harry Potter.

Finding businesses that allow field trips for such a large group of kids can be challenging. So Custom Powder Systems was thrilled at the opportunity to give these gifted students a glimpse behind our wizards’ curtains.

Much like these young scholars, CPS stays on the forefront of science, engineering, and technology. And it’s important for kids of all ages to see how they can put their talents to good use with a career in the manufacturing industry.

We’ve found that allowing kids to see the operations of our facility is the key to sparking their interest in manufacturing and design. By taking these young, passionate people out of their element and bringing them into an environment they’ve never imagined, they light up. We saw their fascination firsthand.

And we read about it in nearly 100 individual, original, hand-designed Thank You notes that we received a few days later.


One item of note: We saw a near 50/50 split of boys and girls that toured our facility. This excites CPS President Denise McIntosh to no end.

Her advice for young girls interested in the field of manufacturing, engineering, and design:

“Learn everything you can learn and if something interests you, pursue it. Doesn’t have to be a so-called “girly job”. If welding appeals to you, pursue it. If engineering appeals to you, and building things appeals to you, go do it. Try it.”

We were honored to welcome these bright, talented WINGS students into our world. After all, these are the designers, electrical engineers, and mechanical engineers of the future.

Who knows, maybe they will be working for us one day.

Or for you.

If we’re lucky.

We care about our future engineers. Click here to continue the conversation.