High school students in Foley, Minnesota, have the opportunity to take a sheet metal machining class where CNC machines are used daily. Students that have taken this class have been highly recommending the class to one another, raising the number of students wanting to take it. The class became a “hot topic” among students and many students became interested in learning the CNC machines. The class allows students to discover, develop, and create, making the class unique and enticing to the high school students.
The class teaches students how to both use and master different sheet metal techniques, including using CNC machines. It is an elective course so students are not required to take it but students willingly sign-up for the class. Students do have to pay somewhere between 20 to 25 dollars for the independent projects but students claim they believe the money spent is well worth it.
During the 2014-2015 school year the industrial technology department received a curriculum review which awarded funding to the department. The school invested $12,000 for the purchase of
tools which included the purchase of a CNC machine, a laser engraver, and more. Students typically start out by creating simple things such as a tool box. As their skills improve, they are granted access to laptops and computer-aided design software such as CNC machines. The advanced students have been able to develop go-cart bumpers and metal signs using the CNC machine, along with many other creations. The CNC machines allow students to create things quickly and with great precision.
Through the sheet metal class, the high school students enrolled are also exposed to careers that would involve CNC machines and CNC technology. The students take field trips to local technical colleges to help students see what a higher education in this field would be like. They also tour business and establishments that use CNC machines to understand what people do that use CNC machines for a living.
Students enrolled in this sheet metal class are learning valuable skills that might allow them to establish themselves as a professional through CNC machines. If students aren’t planning to make a career out of CNC machines, at the very least, they are learning a valuable skill.