Author: Pavel Vachalec
When speaking of “handyman”, we usually think of a person, who creates something manually in his free time – invents, constructs, builds, designs, repairs, improves, etc. In connection with digital technologies, we may add for example 3D models, 3D prints, solders, programs, etc. Basically “handyman of the digital age” added to saw, chisel, nail, and welder some of those digital technologies, that are so often so cheap that seems almost unreal. And so the modern handyman can cheaply build for example CNC laser engraver, 3D printer, smart vacuum cleaner, … simply various automats/robots both simple and relatively complex.
At the grammar school in Polička, we try to include various “handyman” activities directly into the education, but everyone, who at least once worked on his own “handyman” project, realizes that the biggest issue in handyman training is the lack of time. And that is the reason, why the MAKERS club was founded – here, we have not only more time with students but also we are not bounded by any official educational plans. With attendants, we meet once a week and our program is relatively free. Usually, the program is split into two parts. During the first part, we are working on some specific topics, for example, we are trying to improve 3D modeling while working with CAD software or we exchange our experiences with the preparation of 3D printing data for each given 3D printer. Other times, we invite an expert, who, for example, introduces us to interesting integrated circuits, popular low-cost microcontrollers, measurement technologies or enlighten us on how to work with CNC tooling machines. The second part of our meeting is devoted to our projects, consultations, and discussion. The main goal is still the same – to learn / to design / to produce / to build/ to make stuff work. It does not matter whether it would be a school competition robot or digital smokehouse control, or a meter to control the level of grandfather’s well, IoT weather station, a remote control car, chemical rocket, or 3D printed jewelry.
Cooperation between the MAKERS club at the grammar school in Polička and the municipal library is mutually beneficial. The municipal library supports the club materially and passes on the experiences with the club to the wider public. This year we organized together several workshops as part of the CodeWeek 2018 European campaign. The regional polytechnic center is being built in the library in the present (Center of Technical Education). This will offer to all interested not only above-standard technical background but also interesting educational programs, in which we will also participate with our MAKERS club. We believe, that our cooperation will continue to develop, and we hope that we will be joined in our activities by supporters from the corporate sector.
Students need a dozen different things to realize their projects, and some of them are not exactly the cheapest. We are successful in addressing the companies, that supply us with the necessary items with a significant discount, do not count the postage price, or deliver the required material completely free. The materials are for example plexiglass, 3D printing material, robot material, electrical components, etc. We have also be given a free license for the preparation of 3D printing data. Other company lent us 3D printers for a long time. Other prepared blanks for the robotic track for free. We thank all the companies that have supported us in any way.