Most of us have had experiences where we look back and say, “Oh, I wish I’d had my camera for that.”
That’s me. Right now.
I am looking at the projects these seniors are working on and while I have my camera out and going now, I am wishing I would have been snapping more pictures in our early stages. I feel like I missed a lot of things that would be so cool to look back on now. I can just hear them, looking at the blog and saying, “Whoa, I remember that. Remember that Mr. Routhier? Look where we are now.”
Yes, indeed. Look at where we are now. (At the bottom of this lengthy post, there is a link with some great pics. Hang in there!)
Mid-January is typically our start time for senior projects in CADD 3. This year is a large group for my senior level class; sixteen kids. And like all classes, they wanted to do something substantial, memorable, and way too large and expensive. This is not new for my program. In the past we have built several smaller go-cart type vehicles. Some with three wheels, some in a semi-motorcycle configuration, some you lay down and drive, and some years we actually build practical things. Last year, I told the students I thought I wanted to shift over to something more marketable. While go-carts were fun, I was tired of fixing old motors and begging them to start. I was tired of storing go-carts in my shop. So last year, we built two log splitters and sold them both. It is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, remember, and folks around here burn wood for heat.
So this year, we discussed several ideas back and forth. And just like in years past, I let their excitement and enthusiasm shift me from where I am comfortable. I can’t help it. Part of me, I guess, is still seventeen or eighteen years old and I can relate to their motivation to build something impractical and fun. But I think I held my ground pretty well; no silly little go-cart for us!
Instead we are building THREE projects. (How did this happen again?)
The projects for this year are: a sandrail, a mini-chopper and sidecar, and a warthog (you’ll see what that is eventually). I was being honest; these aren’t sill little go carts. These things are huge. The two carts are about 9 feet long each and the mini chopper is kind of mini, but not really. To say the shop is full right now, is an understatement. And space to work is only one of our concerns.
I warned them that our biggest concern here is finishing in time. I haven’t managed this many projects or projects this large before. It’s been a huge undertaking and just another example of how, every year, my seniors talk me into to “biting off more than I can chew.” But I love it. Oh sure, I panic at times. I get frantic about shipping dates, saw blades, coolant fluid, or a piece of hardware that is impossible to find. But the reality is that I learn alot doing this stuff too. I remind myself going into this that very often learning is about digging into something new – something you don’t know about.
The projects are looking great. I have attached a short slideshow of pictures so you can see how they are progressing. Each project started with a little research, a lot (I mean A LOT) of full scale sketching in the hallway on large rolls of paper, and some dreamy ideas from high school seniors. They took those sketches and dimensions in to the classroom and created SolidWorks models of the designs. Excitement was high when they got to see their creations in the 3D models. Still, the best has been watching them create the many parts in the shop – off of their OWN DRAFTING PRINTS! They are learning to work together (most of the time) and to be resourceful. I am so proud.
Are we going to finish? Will these things be on the ground and running before graduation? I hope so. But it is March… and the days are going by pretty fast. Guess we better get going. Grab your safety glasses and let’s get to work!
Check out this link below!
CADD 3 Feb – March 2011