The students of Nick Lambie’s class gathered around the 3D carver and watched it carve out mustaches and Celtic knots, the drill noisily sending sawdust powder into the air.
“We’re very excited,” Lambie said. “We applied for the grant through Inventables. We saw that this company Inventables wanted to put one of these machines in one school in each state. So we got right on it, went through the application process and had to design a lesson plan, which I did on gear ratios and cars that we were building. Hunter Bishop designed a claw on their online platform, Easel. And then we had to make a video about why we wanted it. We talked about some of the work we were doing, cars that we were working on and art projects. And they picked us.”
The carver required some assembly when it arrived and the students were able to get the machine up and running by March 8. Lambie said the Taft Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) team was interested in using the carver for designing ROV parts, but that it could be used for many other kinds of projects.
“I teach art, physics and robotics,” Lambie said. “In art, we can make cool templates for print-making. Or sculpture. It can be used to make ROV brackets; claw components and it will cut things up to 32 inches high. Our school was already interested in signs with unique logos and patterns because the carver can be very precise. One of the teachers who helped me apply, Nikki Wolff, works in our special education program and they have all kinds of ideas for manipulatives for their classroom. The toddler room has some project ideas. There are all kinds of applications that we are going to see.”
Sophomore Eneki Trujillo said that they could have had the carver up and running sooner, but the router for the machine had been stolen.
“I’ve been with Mr. Lambie and his robotics program since I was in seventh grade,” Trujillo said. “He got us into ROV and we went to the international competition last year.”
Trujillo looks forward to building parts for a new ROV with the rest of the team.
Sophomore Hunter Bishop, another member of the ROV team, said that the carver did not come with all of its parts and they had to order a few more parts.
“All in all, it’s turned out pretty good,” Bishop said. “Having a machine like this will cut down on costs when it comes to ordering new parts. Things that are machined out are really expensive because you have to buy a machine like this to do. So all we have to do now is buy materials and we can do it ourselves. Time is another factor—if you order a part, there are going to be other people who have ordered and you may have to wait a while for it to go through. But with the carver, we can make our own designs and make the product right here. We just have to place the material, turn the carver on and it’s good.”