This was a project I was introduced to when I first started teaching and remains the most universal motivator for children to explore a range of STEM based concepts as well as some intricate making skills. Apart from the science involved in making racers go faster the opportunities for creativity seem endless. Some like to model real cars whilst other like to make animals and familiar objects. The laser cutter speeds this process up and facilitates amazing results. Note the 'mini me' drivers cut from photos of the student.
Based on a 5 LED strip light, these lamps use the scattering effect that engraving has on perspex. The designs were drawn by hand, then scanned and engraved and cut on the LASER cutter.
We have a student who wanted to explore the Thunderbirds productions and this needed a way of mechanically operating a puppet's face. After many variations we designed one that became a study of Ergonomics - making technology easy to operate.
This project looks at STEM issues such as friction, electric circuits, gear ratios and problem solving. Students design the best universal wheels to negotiate a range of surfaces. They design a variety of tread patterns to maximise grip on each surface -smooth plastic, deep sand, bumpy foam and grass. They then combine the features to make a single tread design of an optimum diameter for speed and traction. Buggys race for speed, hill climb and tug of war.