Manufacturing Course Replaces Engineering Drawing

Joelle Nelson, Editor in Chief

The Career Technical Education (CTE) department is adding an advanced version of its current Intro to Engineering class for the 2019-2020 school year.

The new course, technically called Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), but familiarly named “Engineering and Robotics” is now an option for students looking to fill their schedule for next year.

To be taught by CTE department chair Steve Boone, the new curriculum designed by Project Lead the Way builds on the 3D software skills students learned in Intro to Engineering to “making the parts, and how to make the parts that we are designing,” said Boone.

That means using equipment like 3D printers, laser engravers, and Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) milling machines to manufacture the components designed in the CIM class. It also means the students will learn how to code these manufacturing machines.

“Manufacturing is really, really large, and [companies] use these robotic arms and they need people to code these things, so the class also goes over that, on how to program the robotic arm to do tasks,” said Boone. Students will develop a foundation for programming other robots, like the ones used by Amazon to transport goods around their warehouses.

Freshman Rohan Phadnis said he plans on taking the class because it would “definitely” help prepare him for his dream job as a robotics engineer. “It essentially structures your mind and helps you think logically so you can assemble things, build things, and problem solve things,” he said.

Phadnis is also a member of the robotics club. “Everyone who takes that class should also be in the robotics club,” he added.

Although the necessary equipment for the class can be expensive, Boone said the cost is offset by the fact that Campolindo already owns some of the tools.

Boone has access to laser engravers, some relatively new 3D printers, and a CNC machine. “But we are buying 1 big machine that can do steel, and aluminum, and all those other materials. And it is a pretty pricy piece, but the school district is trying to fund that for this program. Or MEF,” said Boone.

Colleges are also all on board, according to Boone. CIM is an A-G approved CTE class for California State Universities (CSU) and the University of California (UC), unlike the current Engineering Drawing class the program would be replacing.

Freshman Ohia Paris, who chose the class as an alternate after learning about it from Video Productions teacher Justin Seligman, said, “I just think it would be fun to take. I’m also interested in robotics, and I took a similar class this year.”

CIM will be introduced to campuses across the Acalanes District as an A-G accredited CTE course. “I hope the students are really interested in it. It is really relevant to what’s coming about right now, especially in the engineering field. Knowing how these things work is up and coming, so learning the process now is going to benefit the students later on,” said Boone.