PINBALL mania has taken over Camperdown College.
Eight students from the year 9/10 CAD (computer-aided design) class have spent nearly 20 weeks working on their own pinball machines, designing and building them from scratch.
Teacher Ben McKenzie said the exercise combined digital design with hands-on woodwork and state-of-the-art machinery.
“This class introduces students to the processes and challenges of taking a design from conception to the screen and then to a physical reality,” he said.
“(The software) can be used in different aspects of their own life, like designing their own house or using them in product design or university subjects.
“It’s definitely fostered two of the kids’ interest in heading in that direction with further study in computer drafting and engineering.
“These are skills and designs similar to what you would find in most cabinet makers or joiner businesses, so now they have that technical language that they’d require.”
Mr McKenzie said that while pinball machines invoked a sense of nostalgia in older people, some students were experiencing the physical nature of the arcade classics for the first time.
“These kids breathe digital air and aren’t used to this sort of thing. I made a demo one in 2014 that just got played to death,” he said.
“One go on these machines usually leads to quite a long session trying to beat the table. There’s lots of testing happening during lunchtime woodwork classes.”
Mr McKenzie said the school purchased a large scale computer numeric controller (CNC) router in 2014, which laser cuts timber in precise detail.
“These flatbed CNC router machines are complementary to traditional hand skills,” he said.
“It’s a subject that combines a certain amount of theoretical and computer work with getting out and putting it all together.
“It has been very engaging for them.
“Once they’re shown the basic skills it’s been very independent.”