CHS Ind Tech receives new CNC router through grant

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Ever had one of those jobs that lets you create works of art and then share your knowledge with others? Travis Oliver does. His Industrial Technology classes at Crookston High School now have access to a new CNC (computer numerical control) router that allows them cut out letters, drawings, shapes, logos, and more out of various types of wood and other materials. In fact, while the Times recently toured (with a mask and socially distanced) the Ind Tech carpentry room, Oliver was able to demonstrate the new machine by cutting out the Crookston Times’ logo from an image emailed to him.

    The “Shop Sabre”, which costs around $25,000, was acquired through a grant that was approved for close to 40 schools for the newer-style “spindle” router. CHS’ other router is a standard CNC machine. For the Times’ demonstration, the Sabre router used a 90-degree V bit for the lettering into melamine board and Oliver said the detail on the new machine is “ridiculous” and he couldn’t believe the “crispness” of it once the project is complete. Oliver hopes to try carving out a 3-D human face after watching a video recording of its capabilities, plus he showed the Times how the program shows a preview video of how it will perform each task.

    “If the kids (students) want to make something, all they have to do is draw it or put a logo’s image into the program, preview it, size the image, make sure their board is the right size and secured in place, select the correct bit and then the program tells the machine what to do,” Oliver explained. “The new program will work with our old machine, too, and the program will allow us to share stuff with other teachers like shortcuts, tricks, and tips.”

    Oliver says the students will also learn what certain bits do for the new machine and, as the year progresses, they’ll come up with a list of projects they’d like to create.

    “We also got ten $1,500 laptops with the grant that have gaming-type software on them and the CNC’s program is downloaded, so once the students learn more about the machine and program they’ll be able to check the laptops out to create,” he added.

    Oliver has a full schedule for the 2020-21 school year with Welding first hour, Beginning Woods second hour, Advanced Woods third hour (which will get to explore the new CNC machine), Auto CAD fourth hour, and Construction Trades in the afternoon. Stay tuned for an update on this year’s CT house.

CHS Industrial Tech teacher Travis Oliver shows the Times their logo in the new CNC router program before it is cut
The Crookston Times logo cut out in melamine board
A closer look at the new CNC router precisely cutting the Minnesota Gophers hockey logo during a sample run
A look at the new Shop Sabre CNC router