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Woodworking teacher gains grant for Rockler CNC

Justin Herrling, a woodworking technology teacher at Auburn High School in Auburn, N.Y., purchased a Rockler CNC Shark Pro Plus HD using a grant from the Auburn Education Foundation at the beginning of this year. Herrling says he wanted to enhance the classroom experience for his students and, based on the feedback he’s received from students throughout the year, his efforts have paid off greatly.

Justin Herrling shows his students how to work with the Rockler CNC machine he paid for with a local grant.

“I’ve been teaching there for 10 years and got to thinking about getting a CNC. I thought it would be real neat for the kids and just tried for the grant. We do a carving project by hand every year which is extremely time-consuming and I thought it would be neat to show them how to do it with a computer-controlled machine. Luckily, my application got approved,” says Herrling.

Because of his limited budget to purchase new equipment, he wrote a grant application to the foundation last fall. The non-profit organization reviews grants twice a year to exclusively support Auburn and surrounding city school districts through its own fundraising.

Annette Abdelaziz, the foundation’s executive director, says teachers are encouraged to request what they need and state why they need the additional resources. She said the grant board felt Herrling put together an excellent proposal with pictures showing how the machine would work in the classroom.

“Justin does a good job meshing older technologies with modern technologies. With this piece of equipment they can design something on computer or from their imagination and, from what I understand they can use wood or synthetic materials, so they can use this tool to etch onto plastic, Corian or other materials. So we thought it was an outstanding use of our resources to fund that program for them,” says Abdelaziz.

After initially setting up the machine, he programed it to use V-Carve Pro software to communicate with the CNC panel control. This allows students to see exactly what the project will look like once it is complete.

“This machine has proven to be both very exciting and educational for the students and myself. Although we have just broken the surface on what it is capable of, we have produced some outstanding projects that we could otherwise be unable to create,” says Herrling.

Contact: Auburn Education Foundation, P.O. Box 592, Auburn, NY 13021. Tel: 315-255-8827.

This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue.

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