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Hi! In my travels around the country running our Camps and Jamborees I have met a growing number of Shopbot owners who are using their machines in schools. It seems that more and more school districts are catching on to the idea of using computer technology and the 'Bot to expand some curriculums, (and in many cases saving other programs..). What we plan to do here is offer up a place where teachers can exchange ideas, lesson plans, projects, funding sources, etc. that have worked in their area. There is even a movement going on down in Texas to write a state wide program to be used as the model for a state wide syllabus when a CNC curriculum is created. We're thinking that if we can organize all of our own teacher resources as a group on a national basis we might be able to provide enough input, and content ,to establish the Shopbot model as a realistic way to incorporate our efforts throughout the country. I know that many of you have posted some of your offerings on the Forum, or on web Blog pages, in the past. But now we're hoping to round all of these ideas up into one arena. It doesn't have to be brand new stuff, just start posting what you have, and hopefully others will be able to add to it.....

We will also be announcing some new additions to the Camp Shopbot schedule in the next few weeks, and they are going to be located in various high schools around the country ! If you think that YOUR school would like to host such a Camp please get back to me at - Thanks ! Bill Palumbo

Bubble Wands

This is one of my favorite and most super fun projects with the Shopbot with a ton of teaching moments. The minimum commitment time to getting something exciting is pretty fast and students can walk in on the activity part way through, ie, at a fair or camp.

Use 1/8" or so plywood and a straight center cutting end mill. With any draw program make a a pizza paddle shape (ie, two rounded rectangles, boolean merged) then make a large circle in the center. Bigger is funner! (But keep in mind you need a dipping tray larger than the outer edges of your wand). Initially, do not debur the inner circle.

Bubble solution is dishwashing soap (Joy seems to be the best) mixed with water and optionally a few drops of glycerin. Put solution in a shallow tray, ie, liberated from the cafeteria. Be sure to soak the wand good the first time.

Once there is a nice film spanning the circular hole, moderately slowly swing the wand through the air like slow motion tennis. You'll get a very large tube and if you manage to close it before it pops and make it high enough, it will self-form into a sphere before falling to the ground.

Now comes the best part of having a Shopbot and design tools that an 8 year old can operate with very short turn arounds, so you can pose a question, make a guess at the outcome, then make a physical object to test the hypothesis.

  1. Making certain you've soaked the wood, try making bubbles before and after deburring (smoothing) the inner circle. Do the burrs help or hinder? Have an idea of why?
  2. Replace circular hole with a single square. The bubbles are still round! Why? What about with a triangle, or pentagon? What about a daisy or heart shape?
  3. Replace hole with holes. How many bubbles do you get?
  4. Replace hole with one with a squiggly outline (ie, more perimeter length) but of approximately similar diameter. Is the bubble bigger?

Ok educators, I think you can take over from here. Don't forget to decorate (bring lots of glitter) and make sure the safety glasses are on!

Amy, BillP
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