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2 years with the Torchmate 2×4 CNC Plasma cutter

As a high school teacher and user of equipment with teenagers, I feel that we know how to abuse tools.  Like all reviews, each reviewer is sharing their personal perspective. This review comes from the perspective of lots of users doing a huge variety of projects with a variety of materials.  This isn’t a review from a production shop, but rather a learning atmosphere.  Over the last 2 years, we have fired up the CNC plasma about 400 times. We get a lot of use out of the tool.

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Defining our class. Thoughts on STEM, Makerspaces and shop class.

I have spent a great deal of time pondering the definition of my class.  I frequently am asked about what I teach and quickly look for a way to explain to someone without having to give too much background knowledge.  By class name definition it is a manufacturing and engineering course.  It is still the best term to use, but it leaves much to be desired by interested groups that don’t have manufacturing experience.

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A Thank You

I stopped by a machine shop garage sale on my way home from work and learned that the machine shop was closing due to retirement.  Dwight Koch was closing down his machine shop.  He was kind enough to donate some end mills and other miscellaneous parts to our program.  It is wonderful how much local businesses support programs like ours.  Thank you to all that have helped us out over the years and I wish Dwight the best retirement.  Thanks again.

 

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From Solidworks to Vectric Aspire to CNC

We have known about designing boxes and cabinets in Solidworks and then cut the parts out on the CNC for some time, but we hadn’t made it happen yet.   I love this system because it takes the best of both softwares and helps create awesome work.  Solidworks handles the Assemblies so well and Vectric Aspire handles the vectors and post-processing for CNC so well.   Continue reading

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Our Introduction to Arduino Unit

We have so much material to cover in our beginning manufacturing and engineering class that we don’t get very in depth their first year.  It is mostly an introduction and some hands on experience, practice and then move on.  This is true for our Arduino unit.  This is most students first experience with electronics and coding, so we start simple.

This is not a how to use the Arduino, but rather a how I teach Arduino.

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