Busy D&T department welcomes the relief provided by a Trotec laser.

As the number of pupils in the secondary school system continues to grow and schools battle ever tightening purse strings, a school in North Yorkshire is finding some relief in the addition of a Trotec laser to its busy Design & Technology department.

Pupils at St. John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate now have access to the state-of-the-art laser cutter, using it to bring their designs and innovations to life; the laser supports teaching D&T students how to solve real-life problems through an iterative design process.

The speed of the Trotec in comparison to our old laser is incredible, we've been able to increase throughput considerably and can complete many more pieces of project work within a lesson. It definitely helps to keep the students engaged.

David Greenwood
Head of D&T with Engineering

Challenges facing the curriculum

The emphasis for learning to solve real-life problems means that pupils are often working on vastly different projects to answer contextual challenges set by the curriculum. This, along with growing classroom numbers means that the Design & Technology staff are under constant strain to support the use of multiple pieces of machinery and equipment to create designs using wide-ranging materials.

Before getting the Trotec Speedy 300 EDU laser cutter, St. John Fisher School had an old laser machine which was very slow and challenging to maintain. It made it difficult for teachers to juggle the different projects and designs that students were working on at any one time.

The team decided to invest in a new laser cutter to improve the workflows for the classes. The Speedy 300 EDU laser cutter was installed during the Spring term, which is the busiest time of year as students are working hard towards April deadlines for coursework components at GCSE and A-level.

We teach an iterative design process which means that students may want to repeat some stages of their project work, this is feasible now that we have the Trotec laser.

David Greenwood
Head of D&T with Engineering

Since installation, the Speedy 300 EDU has been a huge benefit to not only the Design and Technology department, but the wider school.

In addition to supporting the manifestation of coursework, the laser has been used alongside a host of manual and mechanical tools at the school to induct new students in to the Design & Technology subjects, with an initial task to design and make T-square boards which they can then personalise by using the Trotec laser to engrave the wooden surface. This starter project gives students the chance to develop graphic skills, as well as actually manufacture the equipment they need for learning.

The laser cutter has been used to create parts and components for prototypes made from wood, acrylic and plastic laminates, sometimes incorporating electronics and moving mechanisms to create items including working light fixtures, bird feeders, toothbrush timers and skateboard ramps to name a few. The laser has also saved the school money within other areas, including creating name signage for classroom doors. The team are currently exploring ways in which it could benefit other disciplines within the school.

Special praise was given to the ease of maintenance of the Speedy 300 EDU compared to the previous laser. The dust protection and durability of build is obvious, while the team have found that Trotec are always contactable by phone in the event of any technical issues.

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