Pre-Engineering Technologies: Modernizing Industrial Arts with Roland Technology

Grandview High School   |   Aurora, Colorado

Alan Rydlund started out as an Industrial Arts instructor. Now he teaches Pre-Engineering Technologies. The difference? A revamped curriculum, focused on CAD/CAM capabilities and supported by state-of-the-art equipment.

Rydlund teaches at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado. Through Roland dealer Career and Technical Training, LLC, Grandview purchased the MDX-540 benchtop milling machine with an optional fourth axis as well as an MDX-40A CNC machine to handle milling work, and a Roland LEF benchtop UV flatbed printer to produce colorful graphics directly on milled projects.

“The tech and engineering class enrollments have grown every year,” said Rydlund. In Tech 1, students design a clock face, including everything from sporting logos to nature themes to school mascots. After the clock faces are milled on the MDX, students use the LEF to print colorful graphics directly onto their milled designs.

Rydlund noted that Roland’s SRP software was a critical factor in their purchasing decision. “For many of our students, Tech 1 is their first experience with CAD/CAM,” said Rydlund. “We want our students to be able to be successful, and Roland’s SRP software is easy to use.”

“We want our students to be able to be successful, and Roland’s SRP software is easy to use.”

In Tech 2, students tackle designing a CO2 cartridge-powered car. The car bodies are milled from wood on the Roland MDX-540, using its rotary axis for four-way milling, and wheels are milled from vinyl plastic on the MDX-40A.  Next, LEF-printed graphics are added.  The finished cars then race.

“Whatever the students design in SolidWorks is perfectly milled by the MDX,” said Rydlund.  “The students really see how their design choices affect performance.”

Grandview’s students compete at Technology Student Association (TSA) competitions against schools from around the state. In 2015, Grandview’s students took first place overall and won the State Championship.

“Pre-engineering skills are a great area to teach. The kids are excited to be there –and the hands-on learning and problem solving keeps their attention,” said Rydlund.