Listening to West Ohio Tool Engineer Mike Reigelsperger speak, it’s easy to sense his steady dedication to the exacting demands of tool design – a dedication he’s devoted three decades of his life to.
“Well, I’ve been designing tools for decades,” he said when asked what he liked most about his job. “I like the challenge. I really enjoy when a customer sends a part print over and I get to design the whole tool.”
Looking at a schematic of the end part, then figuring out a tool to produce it is what gets Mike out of bed in the morning. But Mike’s life hasn’t always revolved around tool design. “Out of high school, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do,” he said. “So, my dad pushed me toward machining.”
He completed a training program at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, then worked as a machinist for about seven years, but his career path changed when a friend introduced him to drafting with the advent of computer-aided design. With a drafting and design degree, he worked as a draftsman for the next 15 years, honing his ability to visualize tools and parts in the process. It was then that West Ohio Tool recruited him, and the machinist-turned-draftsman became a tool engineer.
Now, he pulls together polycrystalline diamond (PCD) tool sizes for customer quotes, designs tools on 3-D modeling software and makes production prints in-shop.
When it comes to customer requests, Mike has seen it all. “Sometimes I design a tool from a part print; sometimes it’s as simple as following the customer-supplied specs to a T,” Mike said. “I’ve even designed tools from a (diagram on a) Post-it.”
Mike’s background in machining and intimate knowledge of West Ohio Tool’s production process uniquely dovetails with the company’s production department to make tools as cost-effectively as possible. “Our objective is to always try to save the customer some money. Besides getting them a tool that works, cost is the number-one priority,” he said.
He especially enjoys designing tools that increase customer productivity and eliminate as much downtime and inefficiency as possible.
“I’ve designed several tools that combine multiple operations into one. That equals less tools the customer has to buy along with less tool changes,” he said. “If the customer is performing multiple operations, we try to combine that as much as possible.”
When not contemplating a new tool design, Mike can be found golfing and fishing. He also enjoys family time with his son, daughter and grandson.