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TECHtalk Newsletter Term 2 2016

Transcript of Techtalk t2 2016

  • 1

    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016

    Welcome to the TAS/Technologies

    e -Newsletter The TECHTalk e-Newsletter is designed to support teachers of all TAS/Technology subjects Years 712.

    Term 2, 2016 TE




  • 2

    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016

    Inside this issueInside this issue

    Laser Engravers 3-4

    Laser Engraver Safety 5

    Laser FAQs 6

    Biosecurity and feed storage 7

    Agriculture and Food Week 8

    STEM Showcase 9

    Rural and Remote Conference 10

    Updated anaphylaxis resource 11

    TAS Leadership Network 12

    Archibull Competition 13

    Contacts 14

    Term 2, 2016

    I have devoted a few pages in this issue to the use of laser engravers. I have used laser engrav-

    ers in schools and have found them extremely valuable in teaching across a range of TAS sub-

    jects. Laser engravers have the advantage of a higher throughput than 3D printers, that can

    take hours to produce even simple projects. It is also quite easy for students to develop basic

    skills, with only a couple of lessons needed to produce their first simple product. Once students

    have the basics, they are eager to design more complex projects and can easily test and modify

    their products due to the fast and economical production process.

    Unfortunately laser engravers are an expensive investment and a few schools have purchased

    machines that are not on the Department contract. This poses a significant safety risk and ex-

    poses the teachers and principal to legal action and prosecution in the event of an injury.

    Please read this article thoroughly so you dont put yourself or your students at risk.

    There are a number of opportunities coming up, including the STEM showcase. The showcase

    will feature the STEM modules developed in the schools that participated in the Stage 4 inte-

    grated STEM project. Register early as it will be open to all educational sectors and there are

    limited places. The Rural and Remote Conference 2016, is also in week four this term and is a

    great way for those schools outside the Sydney metropolitan area to access some great PL.

    Enjoy Term 2. I will hopefully see you at one of the events, meetings or conferences this year.

    Dan Rytmeister

    TAS Advisor

  • 3

    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016


    You have probably heard about laser engravers and how much they can

    enhance teaching in TAS and other subjects. Unfortunately they are a big

    expense for a school and many are weighing up the benefits compared to

    the cost. This article will give a few examples of how they are used in schools

    and discuss the advantages of using Laser Technology in

    your school. The second part of this article refers to the

    safety aspects of laser engravers and is a MUST READ if

    you are considering a purchase.

    What do they do? Laser engravers use a high powered laser in an enclosed

    cabinet to cut and engrave materials. Designs can be

    created on a computer in a graphics program and printed

    to the laser engraver. Cutting and engraving is controlled by

    line thickness and colour using both raster and vector


    Are they safe? With proper training, maintenance and

    supervision, the laser engravers on the

    Department Machine Tools Contract are

    quite safe. These are good quality

    machines that have quality interlocks and

    screening that prevent exposure to laser

    radiation. The biggest risks on these

    machines are fire and fumes. Fumes can

    be managed with suitable ventilation or

    filtering and by ensuring particular

    materials are not used. The risk of fire is

    reduced through appropriate training in how to avoid the situation and how

    to manage a fire if it starts in the machine.

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    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016

    Who can use it? Equipment Safety in Schools indicates

    that students Year 7 and upwards can

    use the machine after completing a

    safety test. Controls vary slightly as

    students get older.

    What can I do with it? Laser engravers have applications in all TAS subject areas as well as applications

    in other KLAs. Here are some examples:

    Technology Mandatory: Students could

    start with a simple acrylic key tag using

    graphics downloaded from the internet.

    Students then design their own graphics

    and shapes and complete other design


    Food: design your own food moulds or

    engrave food such as chocolate and fruit.

    Textiles: Cutting out patterns and engraving images in denim. Create buttons

    and other embellishments.

    Industrial Technology: Add decorations by engraving materials or cut veneers to

    intricate shapes for marquetry.

    Graphics: bring designs and models to life

    to test developments by cutting shapes in

    paper or acrylic.

    There are many websites with project

    ideas. Here are a couple of examples:


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    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016




    Laser engravers can be very dangerous. The Asset Management Directorate

    has risk assessed a number of Laser Engraving machines and has approved

    four machines for use in schools. The process of selecting equipment for the

    contract takes into account the equipments:



    Provision of training and ongoing


    Availability of maintenance and parts



    Principals were issued the memorandum DN/14/00109 in November 2014

    reminding them of their responsibility. Specifically, Principals are advised

    that use of this contract is mandated and is specifically excluded from

    alternative methods of procurement including the Local Schools, Local

    Decisions Policy purchasing arrangements .


    Many of the cheaper engravers available on the market do not meet the

    safety and quality requirements of the Department. The use of these

    machines in schools increases the risk and puts you and your principal at risk

    of legal action and prosecution in the event of an injury. Following the DoE

    policy will protect you in the event of injury.

    Advice on the safe use of Laser Engravers in schools is provided in

    Equipment Safety In Schools and this advice must be followed.

  • 6

    State of New South Wales, Department of Education 2016

    LASER FAQs Q. I saw a laser engraver that looks like the contract one but is a lot cheaper. Can I buy it?

    A. No. Memorandum DN/14/00109 is a reminder to Principals that they can only buy this type of equipment from

    the contract. Requests to purchase equipment that is not on contract are unlikely to be approved. Generally by

    the time the cheaper model is risk assessed, modified and training is provided it can end up costing more.

    Q. I saw a laser that had a pass through door so you could engrave larger items. Can I buy it?

    A. No. Once the enclosure is opened it becomes a class 4 laser and can easily leak radiation that could cause an

    injury. Class 4 lasers have been banned in Department schools due to the significantly higher risk.

    Q. What can I cut and engrave with the laser?

    A. The 30W laser can cut paper, fabrics, leather. It can also cut wood up to 7.5mm and acrylic up to 11mm. The

    50W model can cut wood up to 9.5mm and acrylic up to 13mm. Materials such as PVC emit toxic and corrosive

    gasses and must not be used. This will be covered in the training provided when you purchase the machine.

    The school approved machines will not cut metals but can engrave the anodising on aluminium.

    Q. How easy is it to use the laser engraver?

    A. The laser engraver is operated like a printer from a computer except there are elements in the image that

    control cutting or engraving. Generally a year 7 class can produce a simple item within a few of lessons.

    Q. How fast do they operate?

    A. Compared to a 3D printer, they are very fast. Small items such as a key tag could take a minute or two and it is

    easy to have multiple small projects in the machine at a time. More complex projects can take longer but

    generally the throughput is much higher than a 3D printer.

    Q. What are the dangers of laser engravers?

    A. Exposure to laser radiation, exposure to fumes and the risk of fire.

    Radiation: The maximum power of lasers permitted in DoE schools is 50W. Any radiation that leaks from

    the cabinet can cause burns and permanent damage to eyes. Radiation can escape from cabinets through

    reflection, inadequate filtering on covers, poor quality interlocks (switches) or interlo