Cutter takes creativity to new heights
An industrial laser cutter lately installed at Ramingining School is enticing students to explore new avenues of creativity.
The $8000 Chinese import, which arrived at the school a fortnight ago, has fired the imagination of its first users — 20 students in the Work Ready Program.
The program seeks to prepare students for the workforce by boosting their employability skills.
Manual arts teacher Francois Du Plessis, and acting principal Theo de Beer, advocated purchase of the machine.
Principal Sue McAvoy said the versatile cutter has been used to create pencil cases, school signs and jigsaw puzzles, but its main use is the production of artworks.
“The machine can cut or engrave, and we believe the laser cutter to be so functionally versatile that it can respond to the broad reach of our students’ inventiveness,” she said.
“Taking projects from design to fabrication is improving their literacy and numeracy, and what they manufacture has the potential to be saleable.
“One ambition is to make place mats by cutting indigenous art into wood.”
Mr Du Plessis said the cutter takes an illustrated design and applies it to a variety of mediums, including wood and Perspex, glass, clothing and acrylic.
“The students are researching product designs from the internet, and use Computer Aided Design to draw the 2D dimensional shapes they wish to cut,” he said.
“RD Works software then converts the CAD drawings into G-Code, which is a set of XY coordinates used by the machine to chart the cutting pathway of the laser.”
Mr Du Plessis said there are plans to make the laser cutter a whole school experience.
“In term 2 we will extend the use of the cutter to junior students, including those in preschool.”