Petersburg students in wood and metal shop classes have been learning some advanced manufacturing techniques this year with the help of new piece of machinery. It’s a computer-controlled router that carves and shapes wood, metal and other materials. A 35 thousand dollar federal grant and nine thousand in district matching funds paid for the router and other machinery.Mounted above a large table on rails, the router system moves its high-speed cutting bit back and forth in all directions based on plans that students load into it. They use Computer Aided Design or CAD software to prepare those plans, which will eventually include signs for the US Forest Service as well as The Petersburg Borough.
Matt Lichtenstein stopped by the school shop and CAD lab to get a demonstration from Teacher Nick Popp and students Kelly Bieber and P.K. Bunyi: For a mobile-friendly mp3, click here. Federal funding for the new machinery came from the Secure Rural Schools program, which has also helped pay for school operations for more than a decade. Congress has extended that program several times in the past. It’s set to expire again next year.