By Mr Steven Bishop, Design & Technology teacher
Clarkson Community High School takes great pride in always being on the cutting edge of new technologies. Back in 2014, we were one of the first schools to invest in 3D printing technologies on an industrial scale, now boasting seven high-end machines around the school and in our maker space printing with materials such as carbon fibre and polycarbonate.
Last year saw the introduction of laser technologies to our Technical Graphics courses in the form of an industrial laser cutting machine. Therefore, as introduction to the 2017 Year 12 Design Course, students were asked to design and manufacture a set of six drink coasters and a suitable holder to store them.
The laser cutting machine uses a 80 Watt carbon dioxide laser and can cut and engrave to an accuracy of 100th of a millimetre. Once the students had designed their coasters on CAD software, the machine took an average of only 2 minutes to cut their projects out.
As part of the design brief students had to consider client requirements, sizes and scale, use of lines and shapes to create effects and other aesthetic considerations. This task was completed using MDF panels, which are both economical and environmentally sustainable, although the machine can cut acrylic plastic sheets, plywood and similar materials.
The results were very pleasing considering this was the first time many Senior School students had used the laser cutter this year.