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Rob Miedema was recently awarded a rotary fixture for engraving various objects

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Abby Wright

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Thanks to a $1,791 grant from the Forest Hills Education Foundation, woodshop and engineering teacher Rob Miedema will receive a rotary fixture that can assist in multiple projects.

The rotary fixture will provide an efficient method for laser cutting and engraving spherical objects. Miedema has not yet received the rotary fixture as he was only recently awarded the money but looks forward to a variety of projects the rotary fixture will assist in.

“One of the things that I would like to [engrave] is YETI mugs. [Students] can engrave their names on them because they are round [and] we would need to use the rotary fixture. They [also] could engrave bats; anything round is kind of the point of the rotary fixture.”

The Forest Hills Education Foundation also recently awarded Miedema with a laser cutter/engraver, so the rotary fixture will attach to the cutter. Having these attachments can allow students in his classes to creatively experiment with all of the projects that new technology has to offer.

The rotary fixture is mainly targeted for Miedema’s woodshop and engineering classes, but any class has access to it. The new attachment will not only efficiently assist in projects, but it also teaches a variety of life skills. Tooling around with the fixture will teach students creative problem solving and perseverance, but also provide a fresh outlet for creating.

“All of my engineering classes and all of my woodworking classes will be able to use it and incorporate it into their projects,” Miedema said. “It provides one more avenue for them to be creative and explore, to problem solve, to fix, and to make things. [It’s] just one more way that they can learn and use the tools that they have.”

Sophomore Ryan Andrews thinks the rotary fixture and engraver would have been a great tool for the pens he made in middle school. But, he hopes to engrave designs and logos into benches and other items.

“For a bench we’re making later in the year, we’re going to engrave whatever [we] want on the back– you could do a picture if you wanted, or your name, or “welcomeai??i?? if you want to put it by your door. I’m not using it for cutting boards, but some people are engraving logos on them.”

Senior Evan Percell is also looking forward to engraving different designs onto a mug once the rotary fixture arrives. Although Evan wishes he could have taken advantage of the fixture earlier, the laser cutter didn’t even arrive until late last year and the rotary fixture is still in the mail.

“I think it’s in the mail, [so] I haven’t been able to use it yet,” Evan said. “I’m excited for it. It would have been cool to have it earlier, but we didn’t have a laser cutter then so we couldn’t really do that.”

Evan is eager to play around with the rotary fixture and design his mugs.

“I plan on getting a mug and lasering onto a mug because [the rotary fixture] spins the mug [and] lasers it. You can put cool designs on the mug or laser on a baseball bat– like a design or a pattern– which could be pretty cool.”

Not only can the rotary fixture engrave, but it also provides a business opportunity. Miedema and some of his students are hoping to form a small business where they sell YETI mugs with engravings on them. They plan on using trial and error to figure out which designs sell best.

Evan thinks that the business is a great way to teach real-world engineering and other important life skills. Marketing and other business aspects will also be incorporated into the YETI mug engravings, but Evan doesn’t expect to collaborate with other business classes. Miedema has challenged his students with other small projects like this before, and Evan is excited to get started.

“Miedema talked about making a small little business, and it [can] teach us engineering [skills]. [Putting] designs on mugs and seeing which designs sell better [is] real-world engineering where you design a project and sell that product, so a little bit of marketing [and] a little bit of engineering. I thought that would be pretty cool and to just tool around with it to see what you can make.”

Miedema himself is grateful for the generosity of the Forest Hills Education Foundation and is excited to see where the rotary fixture will lead him and his classes.

“[I’m] pretty excited,” Miedema said. “They’ve been really good to our program so it was exciting to see them support the stuff we’re doing here.”

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Rob Miedema was recently awarded a rotary fixture for engraving various objects