In January 2020, we organised to spend a day at Repton School in Derbyshire, UK to observe how the students and teachers were using their Boxford equipment within their Design and Technology department.
Repton is a co-educational independent school with a world renowned reputation for excellence and caters for boarding and day pupils from age 13-18.
Boxford have had a strong relationship with Repton for many years and today they are currently using a range of Boxford machines, including an A1HSRi² 3D High-Speed CNC Router, MT2i Combination CNC Lathe and Vertical Machining Centre and a LS900 35w Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine.
We spoke to Gemma Hill, Head of D & T who explained how having the use of a selection of Boxford machines within her department, enhanced the ability to teach the subject.
Boxford machines “reflect industry standard in operation and build quality. So many of the concepts we discuss in D & T, can be practically demonstrated through our machines. It also means projects of ambition, complexity and imagination are made possible”.
We were very keen to find out if owning Boxford equipment within their D & T department had an impact on attracting future students to the school. Gemma went on to explain; “The Design Centre is a stop on all our prospective pupil tours and visitors always comment on the feature of having a range of CNC machines available for pupil use. I think it definitely opens pupils’ eyes to what the subject is about, and how CNC equipment can be integrated into designing and making an exciting prototype”.
Safety in the workshop obviously plays a huge part when we design machines at Boxford.
All of our equipment is manufactured with safety in mind, from our fully enclosed machine cabinets, to safety guard door switches and professional extraction systems to remove dust and fumes from the work area, the greatest care and consideration is taken to ensure all Boxford users of any age and ability are safe whilst using their equipment.
When asked how important safety in the workshop is, Gemma replied; “absolutely paramount. Boxford machines are incredibly easy to use and safe for all pupils. Features such as the carbon extraction system and automatic shut off on the laser cutter are important to us, as well as the excellent safety guards on all machines such as the lathe and router”.
We also got the chance to see some of our machines being used by students at Repton, whilst in the process of designing and manufacturing their own projects. We asked a handful of the students, how does having Boxford CNC and laser cutting equipment affect their approach to design?
Another student commented: “I like the skill of having to think and plan out my design on 2D Design, and the accuracy that the machines give my work.”
As well as learning the importance of product design within their projects, it is also key that students learn more about different manufacturing techniques which can be used to bring their designs to life. We asked students, how using Boxford machines helped them to understand more about the design to manufacture process?
“I have learnt how computers and technology can be integrated into manufacturing.”
“I have enjoyed putting what I learn in the classroom about CNC equipment, in its role in quality control and assurance and seeing that in action in the workshop.”
Finally we asked students how confident and safe do they feel when using Boxford equipment to produce their work. “Really confident!” said one student. The laser cutter settings and focusing of the laser are very easy to follow, once our teachers have demonstrated how to use it.”
Another student explained, “As an A-Level pupil, I appreciate being able to set up the router and process a simulation of my design before machining. I do like getting my teacher to double check the settings though!”
It was fantastic to see a selection of our manufacturing equipment being put to such excellent and innovative use. The standard of the work being produced within the department was extremely high and varied; from plywood furniture and automotive chassis design to architectural models and even musical instruments!
We hope our equipment will continue to help and inspire generations of students to come. The fact that our machines were being put to great use within the D & T department of Repton School is a prime example of how Boxford equipment can be vital when it comes to learning and understanding more about the design to manufacture process.