Making in the Big City

Here at Tormach, we always welcome customers (and potential customers) to come visit our facilities near Madison, WI, but sometimes it’s easier for us to make an appearance at various events. This past weekend, Tormach employees were all over the map. Saturday and Sunday we showed off the PCNC 440 just down the highway from Tormach Headquarters at the Milwaukee Maker Faire. The event was held at the Wisconsin State Fair grounds and exhibited everything from lightening in a box to working replicas of R2-D2. Also over the weekend, a Tormach crew found themselves at the second largest Maker Faire that Make: Magazine hosts, in New York. While we were milling fidget spinners and talking shop, there was still a lot to see in and around the New York Hall of Science. The Maker Faire events attract both young and old inventors and makers, and gives some folks their first opportunity to see many machine tools first-hand and ask questions. The International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM) is still happening in Cleveland, OH at Case Western Reserve University, where a Tormach team is busy introducing academics and makerspace creators to the world of CNC. This event is a collaborative effort by several universities, including Yale, MIT, and Berkeley, among others, to help educational institutions develop makerspaces and provide more hands-on opportunities to students and teachers. Tormach is teaching a class at this event, where we're taking attendees from art to part, so they can experience exactly what goes into machining a part – we taught a similar class during Tormach Tech Days at the beginning of August. Coming up, we’ll be at Gamehole Con in Madison, WI on November 2-5 with a PCNC 440.

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FIRST Robotics Success with Tormach and Sector67

Here at Tormach, we see the value in educating the next generation of machinists, engineers, and scientists, which is why we’ve been involved with FIRST Robotics for nearly three years.

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Robot Season Is Underway

FIRST Robotics is an organization that promotes STEM education through robotics competitions. While you might immediately picture science fairs of the past, FIRST events are more in the vein of a pep rally. There are a number of local and regional competitions in which the students participate to reach the championships at the end of April, and those events are underway.

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STEM Is a Hit!

We love STEM, and not just because we’re a company full of engineers and machinists. Our marketing and logistics departments are just as geeky as the tech crew. That’s why we played host to a Family STEM Day that was put on by the local library, here in Waunakee, WI. Everything from community members showing off an FRC competition robot from Badger Bots and retro electronics to building spaghetti-marshmallow towers to creating miniature marble rollercoasters. Sector 67, a local makerspace, even had an array of projects showing off their wares. With a line winding through the building, Tormach had staff on-hand engraving customized dog tags using a PCNC 440 and PathPilot’s conversational function. After witnessing over 600 parents and kids wander through Family STEM Day, it can easily be said that STEM is a hit, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.  

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The New Tech Ed – Making, Teaching, Tools, and Mixing It All Together

Last week, we had a visit from the Milwaukee Maker Space, which is just a short drive down the Interstate. And the week before, folks from a Madison, WI makerspace, known as The Bodgery, joined us for a product demo. Last fall, another Madison makerspace, Sector 67, got a PCNC 1100 for their growing shop. At Tormach, we’ve always had an affection for makers. We’ve witnessed, first-hand, how the world of making and tinkering has helped to usher STEM/STEAM movement and how making and educating have continued to evolve. Educators are becoming makerspace owners/organizers, and makers are becoming teachers, and as a machine tool-maker, we couldn’t be more excited. Makerspaces have always provided crowdsourced tools to their members, like Sector 67’s PCNC 1100, but now more than ever, we’re seeing schools and colleges take advantage of these spaces as well. What’s more, these organizations are embracing the insertion of education into their spaces. You go to a makerspace to both use tools that may otherwise be unavailable and learn how to use new tools – all of which, looks to inspire more creative engineering and fabrication. Proper education is key to cultivating successful makers, while making helps to both galvanize and stimulate education. The evolving combination of education and making is sure to continue expanding the horizons of the tech world, and engineering in general. Getting tools in the hands of these students is important to making sure that both makers and educators are successful. We’re excited to have so many makerspaces using Tormach machines to do so – and many great makerspaces and schools right in our backyard. Tormach will be making appearances at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) conference on March 2-4 and we’ll also be at the Bay Area Maker Faire May 20-22.

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