high school shop projects
Hello everyone! I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. A bit about myself, I'm a tool maker with over 12 years in a job shop. I can run everything from a drill press to EDM machines and do great work. After the economy turned sour I started looking around for new work and found it over the summer. So for the past 3 weeks I've been a high school teacher at our local vocational/tech center with zero teaching experience outside of training new employees on the job. It's been an experience to say the least, I've dealt with students that don't want to be here and don't care what happens. I've also got a few that really want to learn about machining, those are ones that make me get out of bed in the morning.
The problem I have is the complete lack of resources for shop teachers out there. I was literally given the keys and a list of the state standards one week before school started. I've got a handful of 2nd year students that really want to work on a good project besides just squaring up stock and turning things on a lathe. Does anybody know where I can find some blueprints and assembly drawings for a great class project? I'd love to find something with several individual parts that have to be assembled after they're completed.
My first year of metal class after learning how to use the tools and shop safety was to make a bottle opener. The head of the opener was machined on the mill. The rough stock was cut on the bandsaw. The handle consisted of several pieces. There was a 1 inch diameter finished size piece that threaded into the milled opener head. The end cap was 1 inch stepped down to 3/8. The end was threaded into the head to form a handle. The center of the handle was filled with plexiglass drilled then stacked onto the spindle and turned down on the lathe. My instructor gave us our choice of material to use and the choice of color of the plexiglass. You got to learn how to run a lathe, mill, bandsaw, threading, tapping, polishing, etc. The grading was based on how close the head was compared to the drawing. The handle was measured for length, diameter, and finish quality. It was 30 years ago when there was no such thing as a twist off but it is an everlasting simple project that has been my memory since. Sorry I do not have a pic. It was given away as a christmas gift that christmas.
For first projects , a centre punch, screwdriver and ballpein hammer are good. These projects cover basic lathe ops, drilling, grinding, forging (screwdriver blade) hardening (punch) and press fitting ops (hammer). In addition, the projects are items students carrying on with shop work can use for many years if made well. I don't have prints but you can probably measure and make up some sketches from existing tools to use for the classes.
A more advanced project would be one of the simple steam / compressed air engines at the link below.
These plans were drawn up with student projects in mind. Good luck with the class.
Lincoln Electric sells, at a loss I think, several books on shop projects.
I don't think this is a direct link to the books, but it's close and has a list of projects and I'm sure their books can be found from the link.
If it's a class project, what will they ... individually ... have to show for it at the end of the year?
Start them out making something quick and simple that they can take home, use, and treasure for the rest of their lives, whether they go into the trade or not.
A set of 1-2-3 blocks and/or one or two vee-blocks should be their first project(s) ... IMO.
They'll look at those years from now and remember the the guy that taught them how to do that.
Then challenge them with something more ambitious.
Last edited by KilrB; 09-02-2009 at 07:02 AM.
Reason: Not wordy enough.
I am teaching at the college level. Give me a call after 9pm est or on a weekend and I will give you my overwhelming experiance. (just over a year) My number is on my website listed bellow
buy/borrow one of these
id/od fancy pants bearing pulling setup
copy it or part of it
they not only have to make it they have to print it out too
When I started trade school (now called "vocational school", of course) to learn how to become a machinist like my toolmaker dad, the first project the instructor gave me was to make a toolpost wrench, I had to knurl the shaft, turn a 1" ball by hand (trying to match it to a template), mill the ball to flat off parallel, drill a hole in the middle of that feature and then file out the drilled hole into a square to fit the tool post bolts.
Other projects were machinist jacks, a 5" sine bar and in my senior year, a sine bar grinding vise. I have only 3 of tools I made. The sine bar vise still gets lots of use, the jacks rarely, and the 5" sine bar is a paperweight with my initials on it.
Oh nuts, I just realized I also have the "student copy" of a Starrett No.567 V-block I made.
I don't have any drawings or specs either but I remember a few projects in shop class. As watt-steam said a screw driver is a good one. The handle has taper cuts and knurling and the shank is pressed into the handle. Then the blade has to be flattened & heat treated. I also made a srcew jack. We had to cut inside & matching OD square threads, a tapered base. A through hole with a spanner rod and a free spinning head. The project I liked the most was a salt & pepper shaker set. We used aluminum stock and boared the ID. Again we cut ID & OD threads for the cap to the body connection and drilled the holes in the cap for the salt & pepper to despense through. After fitting the cap to the body we finish cut the OD & buffed & polished the outside to a mirror finish. They were very nice. One word of warnng, watch the little raskels. Kids like to get a spiral chip coming of a lathe cut and walk it across the room to see how long it will stretch. I watched the tool slam into the chuck as a classmate was doing this in shop class. It was ugly.
our high school projects were pretty advanced, one was a 4" belt sander which had operations of pattern torch cutting of the base to casting and machining of the pulleys. I still have the plans for this if you are interested.
the other one was a stirling engine from the Home shop machinist magazine. lots of precision for a high school shop. but most everyone finished their projects and their engines ran.
First off, good on ya for doin' what you are doin' !!
Second, with respect to suggestions made by others, I must first ask, exactly WHAT machines do you currently have at your school shop? This will determine MY personal suggestions as to what you can make. For instance, I would think projects that utilize the entire group can be done. Things like a rotary tubing bender. One person works on the main body, one person turns the die(s), one person turns the pins, etc. This will also provide the class with more usable tools for future use.
They will need projects that they can take with them. The hardest thing you will find or have found already, is getting some of them to share your passion/enthusiasm. Some kids are plain apathetic and cannot appreciate this stuff.
You might actually ask the class what their interests are. THEN, direct projects according to their likes, etc. That is one of those ways to get their interest and also to "buy-in" to the concept of the class and the trade itself.
Best of luck. Grant
There are a lot of competitions out there for high school students for things like Co2 powered cars, pine wood derby cars, bridge building, robotics and so on. Your students will be a lot more motivated if they can build something for a competition. Plus they will learn a heck of a lot more than if they just tinker around in the shop on simple projects.
I started out teaching machining at a vo-tech in Oklahoma. Somewhere at home I have hard copies of all my projects along with operation sheets. I'll look for them tonight. They were done back in the day of inking drawings on the board.
You may also want to check out the Mid-America Vocational Curriculum Consortium at http://www.mavcc.org/
I also have a nutcracker that includes milling and lathe operations along with assembly and welding. Fortunately I have AutoCAD files with this info.
Send me a Private Message (PM) with your contact info so I can get the material to you.
Good luck in your new profession. As you have already found out it has its ups and downs.
One more source is Lindsay Publications as they offer the old South Bend Machine Shop Project book. Go to: http://www.lindsaybks.com/bks4/sblpro/index.html
Here is a link for a beginning project.
Good for you.
My now business partner used to teach intro manufacturing at the university.
When he got there they were making fancy nut crackers, so he decided to step it up a bit, and turn it something fun with a competition at the end. They made little race cars. They were run off of 2AA batteries and about 10-12 years ago the hardware, motor, tires, gears, battery box was about $7.50 per car.
Involved in the project, remember it was a manufacturing course, not just machining.
Vacuum formed the body. (he had the mold made elsewhere, could use something off the shelf) The students got to paint and customize it.
Cast and machined the frame rails, could be made out of bar stock.
Bottom plate was sheared and bent.
Front axle was turned and then milled.
Rims on the lathe.
He still has the plans, if you'd like a copy, just shout.
Lots of great ideas so far from the forum. I agree with several members who suggested a "working" assembly like a car or other machine for a competition, that students can take home. This is sure to generate interest.
However I disagree with the poster who recommended a sine bar as a project. Unless a student goes on to advanced machining they will have very little use for a sine bar. In fact, I have rarely used mine in many years on the job or at home. 1-2-3 blocks are useful for a machinist, but for general use normal hand tools would be more likely to be used by students whether they go on to a carerr in machining or just maintain a home. I do agree with this poster's idea that some sort of vise is a good project.
Lots of good ideas from the group!
Here's another idea, hopfully a good one:
Make high performance bicycle parts.
Most kids have bikes, some are really into BMX, or mountain bikes, and we're even seeing kids getting back onto serious "road" bikes, with the "Lance effect".
Things like seat posts, handlebar stems, derailleurs, wheel hubs, all offer a variety of operations, have different levels of difficulty, and can be used by the kids (with some pride, hopefully) when finished. A short visit to a good bike shop, that has a variety of quality levels of bike on hand, will show you different designs for these parts.
For the geeky kids (if you have any) they can build a Newtonian telescope. The mirror mounts, focusser, tripod head, etc. are all reasonable projects for a beginning machinist. Kits for the glass parts are available at differing costs, depending on quality level.
On a slightly different topic, I have found that using PVC or some other engineering plastic for training exercises can save damage to the machines and tooling when mistakes are made.
Just some thoughts.
Thanks everyone, that's a ton of info and links to go through. Just finished my last class of the day, I think I'll have some downtime tonight to look at the links and send pm's.
Thanks so much!!
Yeah, I've got a couple 5" sine bars, seldom use them. Now a nice sturdy sine vise or table, (with or without vise) that you can carry from the mill to the surface grinder...
Originally Posted by watt-steam