What is in the future? That is a hard question to answer. So we try and prepare our children the best we can. I believe that manufacturing makes for better lives. So that is what I teach. Almost everything we touch is manufactured. Almost everything we do we can do because of manufacturing.
Sometimes things that are manufactured do not make society better. I would hope that we try and make things that make everyone’s life better. Still that is a judgment call. I try hard not to judge.
So how do I teach manufacturing? It is a digital world. Learn to speak the language of digital fabrication. Dimensioning, the relationship of objects, collaboration. Those are what are important to me. I also try and listen, as I do not know it all. Practically, people that want to manufacture need to know how to use modern machinery. They operate digitally. We have digital CNC machines they are underutilized.
One of the things I enjoy telling the students is “When I was your age they told me, Don’t trust anyone over 40”. I then take a deep breath, exhale then say “Remember that” I then proceed to say that I will do anything I can to help them. The future is yours not mine. I think there is a very good reason to tell them that. We old people are stuck in our ways. We want to teach things like draft in sand casting. Or what angle to hand grind tool steel to use on a lathe. We might as well be making pottery. The students want to use new equipment to make new things.
The good news is we do have a diamond lathe. It gets lots of use and the students love it. The old people are unhappy because they want a mature course. They complain about the new methodology and go back to their old methods. Unfortunately the students become angry with the old methods.
I am encouraged though, last week I received a new vision system. I had a lot of fun with it, I am looking forward to showing the students how it works. I have a list of new equipment I would like to see. Also a list of projects. Yet I am willing to listen. A student just mentioned they want to do 4D printing. We will do that.
My lab is in transition, to where I do not know. Some people want to restore the antique machinery. They think it is important. I say they are living in the past. They care about sand casting. I am into the vision system. Before they went home the last thing they bought was a bucket of sand. We have to much old stuff as it is. I am trying to clean up and get rid of old stuff. I wonder to myself what I am supposed to do with a clean shiny new bucket of sand?
If I had my way I would build an airplane. Anyone want a shiny new butt can?