In case you haven’t heard, or seen it, we have a laser cutter in Technology!
This is technology that we have been wanting, for quite a while and now it’s here it has been “flat out” for the Autumn Term. Most of the Sixth Form have been shown how to use it and are producing prototypes of their designs (MP3 docks) in a lesson or so, rather than the weeks it used to take! Year 12 are producing decorative candle holders suitable for batch production and I know of at least a couple that are going to be “exported” as Christmas gifts (lucky grandparents).
Lower down the school the Year 7 & Year 8 students are also laser cutting. They are producing designs for a key ring that will then be cast in pewter, therefore mixing computer control, state of the art technology with casting and the poring of molten metal – that dates back to the bronze age!
Also new for this year in Technology is the use of sublimation printing. This technique allows the printed image to be transferred to the surface of a product (ceramic, polymer or textile). Our KS3 students have been designing mugs, which they are able to print and take home (popular just before Christmas). In the textiles area this printing method has allowed Year 9 to produce textiles with a print of their own high quality designs.
Of course where applicable these processes can be utilised by the GCSE course students. We are now after 9 years saying goodbye to the old GCSE specifications and everyone from Year 10 on will be following the new Product Design Specification. This means while still acquiring some of the traditional skills more awareness of the new computer controlled process is required and the increase emphasis on design makes for exciting and dynamic courses.
I am sure as a parent you love seeing what your son or daughter has made at school, and with a lot of these new processes there is an increase in cost so we do have to ask for a small contribution for most of the projects they make. Normally this charge is £1-£2 however the mug is £4:50 and even at that slightly higher cost I am having students wanting to produce several for gifts, the designs and quality of the graphics produced by the Year 7’s for their mugs is stunning.
Can you assist us? Do you through work have any contacts for materials you think we could use in school. The main materials would be acrylic, self adhesive vinyl, aluminium (sheet, bar) for machining processes or for casting or timber. Oh and while on the subject we could really use a manual milling machine if you have one idle & looking for a new home!
Mr Bull, Subject Leader Technology