Technical Education Made Easier with Real CNC Machines

Hands-on learning is quickly becoming the best-known way for students to fully grasp concepts and curriculum, especially in the world of technical CNC machine education. To this end, classrooms have started to change in accommodation for this type of hands-on teaching. Because 3D printers are becoming more regular in everyday classrooms (not just tech ed rooms), machine tools, like multi-axis CNC mills and lathes, are more commonplace in the shop.

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A Week of Fab Labs and STEM Days

At Tormach, we find ourselves visiting a lot of different trade shows since we touch people in so many different areas – from education to makers to heavy industry – and last week was no different. In Waunakee, Wisconsin – home to Tormach headquarters – we visited the Waunakee STEM Day for Families which was put on by the Waunakee Public Library and hosted at the Waunakee High School. The school has a number of machines, from 3D printers to plasma cutters, and is even set up with Tormach machinery. 400+ people crammed into the school, where there were demos for adults and kids alike. We were showing off the PCNC 440 by machining steel coasters for attendees to take home. Tormach also made an appearance at the U.S. Fab Lab Network Symposium in St. Louis. This three-day event gathered a group of community makers, maker spaces, fab labs, and academic makers to discuss community spaces for innovation and making. Presentations on procedures, community-building, safety, and everything in between were given, and a Tormach machinist talked about CNC training. We are always excited to meet our customers or talk shop with those that are kicking tires, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and watch our events page to see where we'll be next.

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Bridge Education and Business: 6 Ways to Guarantee a Successful STEM Event

I love STEM events. Students huddling around chemistry experiments, buzzing machines, and the buzzing of learning makes me giddy; all of these bright young minds are going to be our future, and, with our help, our legacy as STEM professionals.

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Women in STEM: Connecting With the Next Generation of Leaders

More than 100 middle school students eagerly watched machines run, listened to technical explanations of how things worked, applied their math skills to engineering demonstrations, and got to meet with engineers, machinists, and other leaders.  What made this group is unique is their gender – they were all female.

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Robot, Meet Tormach

Earlier this week, we visited a local technical school, Madison College, to see what they were up to with their PCNC 440. As part of the automation integration program, an array of students have had the opportunity to use Fanuc robots for different programming and automation challenges. Students did everything from packaging candy to unpacking a CD. But, we’re biased, and our favorite took blank aluminum cubes and turned them into dice with our PCNC 440. The students created a system to make a Fanuc controller, PathPilot, and a PLC system all talk to each other. With an array of pneumatic fixtures and workholdings, and even an automatic door closer, these students have managed to create a robust metalworking/machine tending system in just a semester. Though the whole system is just a prototype, we’re excited to see new ways to integrate our machines with other forms of automation – especially when it’s students in the classroom. Keep an eye out for the full customer story on the Madison College students in the future.

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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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