Laser Cutters in School
You’ve probably heard or seen the acronym “STEM” (or “STEAM,” since the arts teach and expand the creative skills necessary for innovative thinking) floating around the educational fields, and perhaps you’ve already experienced the benefits that these programs can offer you, or your students. But why is this so important, and how can a laser increase a program’s capability to let their students learn and grow? And on top of that, how can a laser cutter and engraver benefit the programs and their students?
The Importance of STEM
Technological innovation pushes the world along. It is more than just computers and tools, though. The STEM fields include, but are not limited to, Biotech, Computers/IT, Engineering, Software, and more. These fields are in high demand as they continue to grow every day due to new technological breakthroughs and scientific advancements. People are needed to fill these roles, and these STEM programs not only give students a jump start with understanding and scholarship opportunities, but also help them decide what they want to do.
Laser Cutters in School: How do Laser Cutters fit in?
Nearly every field that is considered to consist of STEM careers consists of jobs and duties that include laser systems as a crucial part of their function. Biotechnology industries utilize laser systems to produce clean cuts in their clean rooms. Computer hardware engineers utilize lasers to mark prototypes and create precision components. Industrial Engineers use laser cutters to manufacture specialized components for their projects. We’ve even seen rocket scientists utilize laser cutters and engravers for almost every component they create.
Laser cutters and engravers are becoming far more available than they ever have been, and that availability continues to increase. One of the continuing trends in most technological development includes components that continue to shrink and get smaller. Conventional tools can only keep up for so long before their physical size prevents them from being a useful tool. Lasers systems can produce clean and precise cuts with consistency, and all with minimal maintenance.
Including a Laser system in the STEM programs and education process, whether it be a gantry-style CO2 laser cutter and engraver, or a Fiber/UV system that uses a galvanometer (also known as “Galvo”), will give the students a working knowledge and understanding of the systems that some will likely continue to use in their future careers.
Aside from the valuable knowledge they will gain from using a laser cutter and engraver, the ability to quickly cut components to meet specific needs for their projects, as opposed to purchasing a component that might not exactly meet the specs, will allow the students to innovate from the beginning. This will help them be self-motivated to create solutions for their own situations.
Laser Cutters in School: Where to start?
If you find yourself looking at new lasers for your STEM programs, you’ll quickly find out that there are a lot of options available on the market that are drastically different from one another. This can be very intimidating for someone who doesn’t know where to begin
There are a few things you should consider before you start looking:
- Budget: Figuring out your budget that you are allocated to spend on a new laser system should be your first step. If you feel limited by your budget, don’t forget to consider possible grants or financing options that may be available.
- Work Area: Take a look at where this laser system is supposed to go. Is there enough floor space for a larger system, or do you only have desktop or countertop space for it to fit?
- Ventilation: Is this laser system going to be located somewhere that can be easily ventilated? Lasers essentially burn and ablate the materials they come into contact with, and you should make sure you have an HVAC system available, or a nearby door or window that the fumes can be diverted through. If none of these are options, there are fume extraction systems that can be purchased with your laser system which will pull out all the harmful fumes via a series of filters. If you need a fume extractor, don’t forget to calculate that into your budget.
- Maintenance: Make sure you have someone on staff who is able to learn and maintain these laser systems. This is something that anyone can do, but will take a little bit of learning. If you are uncertain of this, make sure you purchase a laser system from a company that can offer support.
- Education: Whether it is for you, or if it is for the students, understanding the ins and outs of a laser system is crucial before you begin. Safety is a huge concern when using a laser system, so the more you know, the safer you will be.
Full Spectrum Laser has technicians and experts standing by to assist. Whether this will be your STEM program’s first laser cutter and engraver, or if you already have one and are buying additional equipment, there is someone there to help you make sure you are getting the best fit for your program.
Do you need more than just a laser system? There are other companies out there who aid in setting up your entire STEM program, using your empty room as a blank canvas to give you exactly what you need to give your student’s the best experience possible. Companies like PHabLab, Creative Learning Systems, and Amtek Company can help with your entire setup (laser system included).
Full Spectrum Laser is a leader in easy to use, highly versatile laser cutting and laser engraving machines. Our systems range in size from desktop units and high-volume machines through industrial-grade production equipment. Our machines are running all over the world: from grade schools to National Labs, garage startups and many Fortune 500 companies. Contact us today to learn more.