In this article of the #beamies series, we introduce you to the Wilhelm-August-Lay School from Bötzingen. Matthias Keldermann gives us an insight into the hackdays and how the Mr Beam in combination with other technical aids supports the construction of prototypes.
Matthias introduces the Hackdays
“Hackdays” have been taking place at our school for four years. The project comes from Wissenschaft im Dialog from Berlin and is accompanied by the makeyourschool.de website. I would like to briefly outline the process. There are two working days on Thursday and Friday and a presentation morning on Saturday. On Thursday morning, all students of the computer science elective hear what the hackdays are about and how they work.
Goal of the hack days
The impulse is: “Describe a problem in your everyday life and invent a solution for this problem. This solution is then called a “hack” and is to be built as a prototype with digital components.
Procedure of the hack days
The students first look in small groups for possible problems in their everyday lives. The small groups present their problems and new groups are formed according to interests. Possible solutions (hacks) are then sought in the new groups. The group decides on a hack and then has about two days to develop a prototype. The microcontroller Arduino is used with numerous sensors and actuators. The material will be brought by the organizers.
The students are supported by mentors from the STEM field. Specialist lectures by guests from the private sector also offer the students varied impulses.
Technical aids in prototyping
So that the electronics and mechanics are properly "packaged", we work with 3D printers and the Mr Beam laser cutter. The use of cardboard in particular has proven its worth here. The students first create their housing on the computer with the 3D modeler "Tinker-CAD". This allows you to work very quickly and with low thresholds. The “ SVG file ” for the laser cutter is then exported from Tinker-CAD and can then be imported into the laser cutter software BeamOS. The housing parts are then connected to housings with hot glue. This gives the hacks a very professional appearance. The presentations of the school projects always take place on Saturdays. Visitors are always amazed at the results.
We would like to thank you for the interesting insight. It is always a pleasure for us when we see how versatile the Mr Beam laser cutter is in use. Especially if the use in schools can get the many students excited about technology.