With their size and approachable design, Tormach machines have found their way into a number of classrooms at high schools and colleges around the nation. While the uses for a CNC mill or lathe in the classroom may seem obvious – teaching kids to machine parts – you may be surprised at how many teachers are doing much more than just teaching machining.
At the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab, students are using a PCNC 1100 to teach robotics skills while fabricating a replica of the Hubo+ from the Korean Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST). In a multi-disciplinary course, undergrads are exposed to CNC manufacturing, C programming, and microcontrollers while they build robots to navigate a maze.
The Engineering Robotics Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada-Reno uses their PCNC 1100 to create complex wing shapes for UAVs that are aerially deployed from a rocket. The Tormach has improved the university’s fabricating capabilities and has helped make students’ transition from manual mills to CNCs easier.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville physics uses three of their four PCNC 770s to create sand castings in their Industrial Studies program, while the fourth lives in the Physics Department.
Students from the school’s 3D drafting class, CNC machining class, and metal-casting class partnered in 2014 to recreate historically accurate window hardware for Taliesin Preservation Inc., a non-profit that is restoring home of Frank Lloyd Wright in Spring Green, WI.
Getting a Little Artsy
Frankie Flood is an art professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Using his PCNC 1100, students are participating in a course called Product Realization that places mechanical and electrical engineers together with art students to solve problems that local companies are trying to solve.
Flood uses his mill to teach CAD/CAM workflow as well as give students access to really making things.
Matt Pyle is a student at Buffalo State University in New York who is participating in the 2016 Baja SAE Series, which challenges students to develop a racer from the engine up. He’ll be using both his PCNC 1100 and his 15L Slant-PRO Lathe to develop parts for the baja.
In a similar vein, many different schools use a variety of PCNC mills to develop robots for the FIRST Robotics Competition. This contest encourages high school students to operate like an engineering business as they secure funding, design, prototype, and compete with their machines. Tormach machines are perfect for these competitions because they are accessible and sit in a good price-point for schools.