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Workshop refurbishment advice

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by tillyhill, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. tillyhill

    tillyhill New commenter

    hi all, I've just been asked to put a proposal together to get my 1940s style workshop redone hopefully over next summer.

    have found the cleapps guidance pdf but wondered if anyone has any first hand experience to share?

    It's not a massive room which currently has 9 square workbenches, 2 fretsaws, 4 pillar drills and two sinks in built. We have a 3d printer and soon to have a second, plus lasercutter we need to find space for. We have been told we aren't allowed overhead power sockets.

    what would you ask for if you had a clean slate to start with? The room is used for product design, including electronics, pewter casting, line bender, vacuum forming, design work, and will be used for GCSE product design from September 2016

    any advice, plans, photos would be appreciated! Thanks in advance
  2. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I have to say it's with some amusement I read your description of a 1940s style workshop, tilly. I don't know in truth what the extent of technology education was back then. Kids left school at 14, but in 1940 we were fighting a desperate war, so if there was education in technology, I suspect the kids would have been taught how to use machines and tools properly for the war effort.

    I can't imagine Churchill would have approved spending on 3D printers or laser cutters unless it was obvious the outcome was going to change the course of the war.

    My cynicism about what schools imagine the point of teaching technology is in the way they go about it, isn't going to help you however. You are stuck within a system where the curriculum is devised by people who don't know the first thing about technology, nor have any imagination what it actually entails in the real world.

    3D printers and laser cutters have their place, but I can tell you as a businessman, that unless I had a business which fannied around in design, I wouldn't have either of them on the premises, and if I had one, it's doubtful I'd be impressed by what I've seen schools do with them.

    There's so much more useful stuff kids could be taught about, but wary that this could end in a rant, I'll stop and revert to your question. If you intend to buy a 3D printer, carefully study what the quality of output is. Work out how long it takes to produce anything and what the consumables cost of it will be. The same goes for laser cutters. They're fast in comparison and eat up acrylic like there's no tomorrow, along with extraction filters, lenses and downtime if you end up with a cheap machine with inept software and laser tubes that don't see a term out.

    I wouldn't have either unless I had the budget to keep them fed and maintained.

    If these things are on your shopping list, please don't opt for the cheapest you can get. There are no bargains. By this I mean you can get the best deal possible, but to do so, you need to look very carefully at the spec. It's very difficult to get like for like quotes. Rogue suppliers have a reputation of beating honest suppliers on quotes and winning the business, but there's always a catch in their offers.

    Anyway, good luck, tilly.
  3. re

    re New commenter

    Why no overhead sockets? They are the most useful things I have in terms of increasing the flexibility of my teaching space. Mine have been in since 2009 and I have not had a moment's trouble with them.

    Flexibility is the key. We have a lot of equipment on trolleys - lathes, vacuum formers and the like that we can move into workshops as we feel fit. Also tool boards that are shared between four workshops. Each of our shops has a core of kit - the rest is moved about.

    I would advise two pillar drills (a lot of projects demand using two different size drills). Fretsaws are very useful, as are disc sanders (although some authorities ban these on safety grounds). A bandsaw (teacher only) that can be used to cut up wood and metal and, of course, a laser cutter. Access to ICT is also vital - we have a few PCs in every room and a trolley of laptops so all students have access without pairing up.

    I'm also not sure of the use of 3D printers - heads love them, but I remain sceptical - how long does it take to make a class set of products with them?

    I cannot agree with the previous poster - fannying around in design is what our subject is all about.

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