Student Profile: Braden


Our next student profile takes us to Braden.  He is a do-it-all kind of student.  He has done CNC, Carbon Fiber, woodworking, machining and welding.  He is actually on a half day schedule his senior year in order to work at his local manufacturing job.  His kind spirit and hard work has made him a pleasure to have for the last 4 years.  I wish him the best of luck in his future and I know he will do very well.

  • What made you want to join this class?

I have always liked manufacturing and working with my hands.  I like accomplishing things and seeing what I have made.

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Student Profile: Joey

We are starting a series on graduating seniors that have spent a great deal of time in the shop.  Some of these students have spent what equals 7-9 class periods in this class and have done amazing things and grown tremendously.  These students exemplify the ideals of this program and I get sad every year that I lose these students.

  • What made you want to join this class?

A guy came around to the middle schools when we were choosing schools and I heard about the shop class.

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New CNC Routing Table

We have always loved our CNC vacuum table that came with our Multicam machine.  We have t-slots on 2 of our other machines and dread every part of holding down parts.  That was until we created our own t-slot hold downs (info available on our website here).  Since the use of these holdowns, we have not only accepted t-slots as a viable option, but have found that they offer advantages in certain situations.  The problem I have with most hold downs is the fact that they cover up some of the cutting surface.  Ours do not.

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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.


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