Randolph High School Utilizing CNC Equipment

Randolph is a quaint, historic town nestled in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County and minutes away from the Old Order Amish Community. Randolph High School is in the heart of the town, with a total grade size of 50-70 students. Recently, Randolph High decided to offer CNC technology and invested in a Titan Series machine from Techno CNC Systems. We were lucky enough to speak with the instructor of the Technical Education class, who works closely with the CNC equipment at Randolph High School. “Since the town of Randolph is nestled away from larger cities, it was important for us to start a program to show our students the different options available in life. There’s a huge demand for this type of knowledge nowadays, and getting the kids interested in manufacturing is important to Randolph Central School District. It’s an entirely different world now. We wanted to invest in the CNC technology and bring students in to see that this technology is available to them and that it’s fun, easy to learn, and can yield high paying jobs after school. In addition to that, the industry is more advanced and now so are we,” said Jessie Perison, instructor at Randolph High.

Randolph offers a variety of classes including, but not limited to, CNC class, automotive, electricity classes, principals of engineering, materials processing classes, and then general 8th grade courses, as well. They have now brought their woodshop up to date by incorporating CNC technology into their everyday curriculum. In order to teach the students the new technology and how to work the different CNC machines and design softwares, etc, the instructors first show the students the V-Carve Pro tutorials to give them a background on the CAD/CAM design software. “This works great and shows them how to use V-Carve. From there, we customize the projects and teach them step by step on how to go about designing and programing and then making their visions come to life. Then we start testing limits by giving them individual projects where they have to come up with their own ideas, measurements, notches, cuts, etc. At that point, we take them into AutoCAD, then jump over to Inventor, where they can learn more advancements in design and modeling. They can lay it out and see the dimensions. They then export the drawing as a DXF file, which automatically imports into V-Carve, and they then use that for creating the machine instructions for the design. Along the way, they will also incorporate different images of their choosing, so we have the 8th graders use Adobe Illustrator where they can go in and create custom designs, which then also directly imports into V-Carve for carving those graphically designed profiles.”

One student in Mr. Perison’s class decided to make a phone holder for their project. They were encouraged to figure out the thickness of the wood they’d be cutting on and where to put the hole for the phone charger, etc. From there, the student was able to figure out how to use epoxy and get the exact appearance they were looking for as an end result. “So far, we’ve done a few class projects all together. The students have completed custom name plates, as well as unique LED projects. The LED projects were completed by having the students choose an image that they would want, engrave it in polycarbonate, cut it out, take the measurement that they made the template with, make a block, and recess it for the LEDs. These came out great. After that, we jumped into completing a mini table project with 2-3 legs and tabs that interlock at the top. We are now at the point where they are making full size tables.”

Blending CNC technology into the curriculum has been a breeze for Randolph High School. “I think it blends itself into the curriculum- the kids love using the technology. It’s easy to teach both the math and science areas of CNC, and there are many manufacturing things to talk about. When we first introduced the technology to the students, the kids had no idea what a CNC was. Now, they have a lot of confidence in the CNC. The hard part is finding a project to use the machine for cutting time when we are only given 40 minutes in a period. That can be a complication with teaching students. It’s a fun challenge though and after school hours to finish a project is always an option, too”. Randolph High School has also utilized their CNC machine for various school projects, including but not limited to the technical education department. “We use it for different props for other items throughout the school, as well. Recently, the school needed a custom sign for the football field. A student was able to make the sign for the district using the Techno CNC Titan Series CNC router”. 

An old military game that a student designed for her father using the CNC

When deciding which CNC company to go with, Randolph ultimately chose Techno CNC Systems for a few different reasons. “We loved that Techno CNC was semi-close by, and we’d heard excellent reviews about Techno’s good customer service. I will say, every time we had questions or concerns, I was very impressed with Techno’s technical support and fast response, confirming our pre-sales research and concerns in picking the right company. You really are only a phone call away. “Our school wanted to give our students ‘the best’, as well – we wanted to give them the opportunity to have a leg up on the competition in other schools across the nation, and to get them interested in CNC. Looking at it from an educational standpoint, we felt we wanted to go with the best of the best, and wanted to incorporate as many options on the machine so we had an advanced CNC program that matches the industry. Adding the tool changer and vacuum table was a big deal, so the students can vacuum clamp everything down without concerns of their parts moving. Another perk of our Titan Series CNC is how we are never restricted by a project size – we are enabled to do far bigger projects because we have a 4×8 process size which gives us the ability to route a full sheet of material. The kids are amazed at what they can do and it really gives them an accurate insight of the industry”.

Tension table routed on the Atlas Series CNC Router