CAD/CAM “Sings Out” at Kearny

Have you ever heard a hairbrush sing? They sure have at Kearny High School in San Diego, where John Riego de Dios is an integral component of the school’s system of hands-on education that is realizing quite a lot of success among both students and local businesses. His school’s shop boasts Haas and Fadal CNC machining centers in addition to twenty-two manual mills and lathes, a CNC laser cutter, as well as a 3D printer and welding equipment. Their CAD/CAM classroom lab features thirty seats of Mastercam® (CNC Software, Inc., Tolland, CT) to assure students a full-spectrum approach to the advanced manufacturing needs expressed by future employers.

“When the kids get into their senior year,” says Riego de Dios, “we have an Engineering Design and Development (EDD) class. This is when they use CAD/CAM to design and produce their senior projects. One of our students designed a unique long-board skateboard in CAD and uses Mastercam to program the tool paths for doing all the machining in aluminum. It’s for projects like this that I really like Mastercam’s High Speed Machining feature.” Many of the students are creating their own small “time capsule” boxes, designed in CAD and machined out of aluminum. After generating the code for the surface and proving it in a simulation format, they machine their name or design in the top of the lid on the Haas CNC machining center using a Mastercam 3D Surface tool path program.

And what about that singing hairbrush? “One of our students designed a very clever project,” says Riego de Dios. “He took a hairbrush and split it into halves and programmed and machined a cavity in the handle. Then he machined a corresponding aluminum box to fit inside the cavity. He integrated a tiny speaker and Bluetooth® circuitry to work wirelessly off his iPod® and bonded the halves back together. Now he listens to his favorite songs whenever he brushes his hair. This is a good example of how students can take an existing product, use Mastercam to redesign and modify it into something really cool. It boosts their interest and moves them along the path to some great career opportunities.”

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