CNC ArticlesPhone: 516-328-3970www.technocnc.com123of this design, similar to that used in the aircraft industry, the machine is light and portable, yet rigid. In addition, the machine has hardened steel linear ways and ball screws, which means that it provides a high level of performance, speed capacity, and machine longevity at a surprisingly low price. The servo DaVinci machine comes standard with 3-axis servo control, which can be upgraded to 4-axis to accommodate a rotary table option. Techno machines can also be equipped with T-Slotted vacuum tables for easy fi xturing of sheet stock-like materials.Along with the DaVinci machine, we got the IMS CO2 system, which allows students to quickly, easily, and inexpensively design and produce fi nely machined CO2 metric 500 racing cars that meet the specifi cations for Technology Student Association (TSA) competition. The kit includes specially fitted hardware, interface software, instructional videos, and fabrication templates that simplify the design and manufacture of CO2 cars. The kit allows any student to produce better cars more quickly, without tedious hand carving. But for our physically disabled students, the difference is like night and day. Instead of having to rely on others to produce their designs, they can compete on an equal basis with fellow students, using the CNC machine to substitute for a lack of fi ne motor control.One Students StoryI put the new machine to the test almost as soon as we had it set up. I had a student with cerebral palsy, whose involuntary spastic motions made it unsafe for him to use conventional power tools. But it was clear from the very beginning that he had a sharp mind and a graphical inclination. When he entered class he couldnt use a conventional computer mouse, so I got CNC technology has the potential to make a difference in the lives of thousands of special education students.him a track ball, which proved easier to manipulate. Almost immediately, this student demonstrated his ability to create interesting designs on the computer. He took a strong interest in the CO2 racer project and created the model of a car with computer-aided design software that had the other kids oohing and aahing. In the past, his enthusiasm probably would have been lessened by my assisting him with hand-over-hand tooling of the project. But the CNC equipment gave him a chance to follow the creative process to its logical conclusion. He used the software provided with the DaVinci to cut his design out of a block of wood. The pride on his face was truly something to behold. This may have been the fi rst time in his life that he could build something all by himself.As the other students in the class began treating him like an equal and paying less attention to his physical disabilities, he began to shine. He took a much more active role, such as participating as an integral member of the team that won the Environmental Challenge contest sponsored by the Florida Technology Student Association. The project involved a drip irrigation system to conserve water in a butterfl y garden. The student I refer to designed the display and folder that accompanied the project and did much of the research. After winning the state contest, my students traveled to the nationals and placed ninth out of nearly 50 teams entered.I maintain contact with this student, who is now enrolled at Miami Lakes Educational Center and Miami-Dade College. He has also participated in a statewide leadership youth program for physically impaired people and has been called back as a leader for the coming year. The Whole Class Benefi ts The value of CNC technology extends far beyond physically disabled students. All of my students participated in a project earlier this year to build nameplates for a meeting of principals from throughout the school district that was held at my school. The students designed and made a nameplate for each principal and also designed and built a plaque for their own use. For example, one student scanned his favorite cartoon character, converted the resulting raster fi le to a vector fi le, then pasted it into his plaque design and used the DaVinci to engrave it in a block of wood to design a jewelry box lid. As my colleague Ron Torres-Gatherer, Technology Education Teacher at Hialeah High School, says: Revitalizing the classroom so that kids are invigorated by learning and enthusiastic about coming to school requires fresh ideas and creative approaches to teaching. The emphasis should be on providing educational tools to motivate, inspire, and focus on teaching skills rather than simply teaching the student how to use the tool itself. CNC technology has the potential to make a difference in the lives of thousands of handicapped kids by allowing them to overcome their disability, energizing them with a passion for learning and a sense of accomplishment.