122Phone: 516-328-3970www.technocnc.comCNC ArticlesBy Jeff LintzIn my career teaching production technology to middle school special education students, I have had many students who clearly had talent in graphics and design that went unrealized because of their physical disabilities. I have seen students with an enormous amount of creativity get frustrated and withdraw because they could not physically build what their mind could conceive.This situation has taken a major turn for the better as our school has equipped itself with inexpensive, accurate computerized numerical control (CNC) equipment. This equipment makes it possible for students to defi ne their ideas on the computer, using special interface CNC Technology Brings Out Hidden Talents in Physically Disabled Childrenequipment and then watch their designs being built before their eyes. The fact that they can use the machines capabilities to build beautiful and functional objects without help from another person enhances both their enthusiasm and their self-esteem. In one of the most dramatic examples Ive witnessed, a student with cerebral palsy built a CO2-powered car for the Dragster Design Challenge and has gone on to do very well in the graphics program at Miami Lakes Educational Center.Special Education ProgramThe special education classes at Hialeah Middle School in Miami-Dade County, FL, include students who are mentally handicapped, deaf, autistic, blind, and physically impaired. In the past, I often felt frustrated working with physically impaired students because many of them, while cognitively normal or above normal, cannot achieve anything close to their true potential in the technology lab due to their physical limitations. Poor muscle control keeps many students from using conventional power tools for safety reasons. Even if they could use the tools, chances are they would end up disappointed because the results would be far below the quality of the designs they can conceive. I have seen a number of these students become frustrated over their inability to consummate their designs - and, as a result, give up on what in my opinion might have otherwise been a very fruitful career.Bringing New Technology into the ClassroomAbout three years ago, far-sighted local school offi cials decided to purchase CNC machinery and bring it into the classroom. CNC machines automate the work of conventional power tools by using computer-generated commands to move the cutting surface with far more precision than could be achieved by even the most experienced craftsman. Our school selected Technos DaVinci, a unique tabletop machine, suitable for a wide range of applications, including model making, woodworking, plastic fabricationandsignmaking.The DaVinci is slightly different from the more common gantry style machine because it moves the workpiece as well as the cutting spindle. The machine is constructed out of state-of-the-art extruded aluminum profi les. Because Instead of having to rely on others to produce their designs, our special education students can use the Techno CNC machine to compete on an equal basis with fellow students.