Router takes the hand out of handmade

STUDENTS at Camperdown College will be able to put their own mark on woodwork projects following the installation of a computerised machine.

Camperdown College year 8 students Bernadette Bellman (left), 13, Sophie Sumner, 13, Paddy Mitchell, 14, and Tom Gough, 14, with the school’s new $15,000 computer router. 140514DW06 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Camperdown College year 8 students Bernadette Bellman (left), 13, Sophie Sumner, 13, Paddy Mitchell, 14, and Tom Gough, 14, with the school’s new $15,000 computer router. 140514DW06 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

The $15,000 Computer Numeric Controlled machine, also known as a table router, was funded by the school council and parents and friends association.

Design, creativity and technology teacher Ben McKenzie said the equipment was purchased as part of extensive renovations and upgrades to the college’s senior campus and would push its traditional trade subjects into the high-tech area.

“The machine itself is quite large, being able to easily take a standard 1200x2400mm sheet of material. In the classroom, it processes complex designs and mills them out of timber to tolerances of less than 0.01mm. 

“The CNC machine will allow students to put highly detailed personal touches on to traditional models and make furniture and models completely from a computer design. It will also allow rapid production of small models for the junior campus.”

Mr McKenzie said students in all year levels would gain an insight into computer aided drafting (CAD) using the same programs found in the design and manufacturing industry.

“It enables students with an interest in computers to engage better with traditional hands-on subjects and allows students the opportunity to rapid prototype before finalising from more expensive materials. 

“Using a piece of equipment like this means that students can experience real manufacturing technology without leaving our campus.”

The machine was designed and built to the school’s specifications in Melbourne and delivered and installed by the designer who spent almost a day working with VCAL students to set it up.

“To our knowledge we are one of only a handful of Australian schools, especially public schools, to have a CNC machine and no other school has one even close to the size of this one,” Mr McKenzie said.

“Staff and students have been eagerly testing software and machine parameters producing some signs and furniture for the school.

“Specific CAD classes are to begin next semester with integration of the machine into standard class programs happening over the remainder of the year.”

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