Laser cutters were created over half a century ago, but the skills learned from it continue to gain importance into the 21st century. The use of laser cutters in modern and future industry is growing. The automotive, medical, aerospace, and fashion design industry are a few of the many industries using laser cutters. The laser cutters provide students with applicable skills in modern industry within an educational environment.
- Failure as a learning tool – Project based learning uses the design process to emphasize failure can be an option to accomplish the end-goal of a product design. Design process is the cyclical process of problem solving by designing and iterating a solution until the desired outcome is achieved. It IS rocket science. Elon Musk’s SpaceX program had numerous rocket launch failures before successfully returning re-usable rockets to a platform floating at sea. Failure is an important learning tool for real-world problem solving and can be used in everyday life or in rocket science.
- Production Efficiency – Production efficiency is the economic term associated with optimizing production to gain the most output in an efficient manner. This process involves reducing wasted material, minimizing redundant operations, and making the most out of every second of time. For example, a sheet of metal that is to be laser cut to create the same part numerous times could have the design placed in a manner that reduces wasted space/material. In terms of real-world skills, companies are constantly trying to find ways to be more efficient while maintaining quality. Efficiency is important to employers across the globe.
- Creative design skills – Before you can laser cut, you need a design. The design can be as simple as hand-drawn art or as complex as a vector image design using illustrative software or CAD software. The product can be as simple as a laser engraved wooden ornament or as complex as a laser-cut bar stool. Designing the product to be engraved/cut is the first step in any production process.
While we have limited the article to three skills, the list is endless. The take-away should be that laser cutters are not just a tool for hobbyists to create cool, chic products for an Etsy store. Laser cutting teaches life-long, real-world applicable skills that employers in numerous industries are seeking in their employees. Skills that will produce the next Elon Musk or Vera Wang.