Laser engraver fires up learning

New tool is so popular that CG-Belgium students stand in line to use it

LASER ENGRAVER PROJECTS in Cedar Grove-Belgium High School’s new emerging technologies class have included (clockwise from upper left) coasters, Bryce Ketterhagen’s NCAA Tournament bracket, spatula handles, glasses and a wooden R. Teacher Brad Navis and his 20 students are equally thrilled to try new things with the laser engraver. Among the skills students are learning are graphic design, teamwork and troubleshooting. Photos by Mitch Maersch
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium High School sophomore Alex Acevedo wanted to surprise his dad with a drinking glass engraved with his company’s logo for Father’s Day, but he gave the secret away early and texted him a photo of his project.

“I just couldn’t hold back the excitement,” Acevedo said.

That’s one example of the passion students have for the semester’s new emerging technologies class that uses a new piece of equipment.

The district bought a laser engraver last year with a grant. Art students began creating projects, and now the 20 emerging technologies students can’t get enough. Teacher Brad Navis said there was a line to use the machine early on.

“When we first started, it was like Christmas morning,” he said.

Students first had to learn CorelDRAW graphic design software, then how to get images ready for the Trotec laser engraver.

“It’s user friendly. That’s probably one of the nicest things about it,” Acevedo said.

Navis and the students are learning together.

“The kids are doing a lot of trouble shooting on their own,” he said.

“It’s my favorite class by far,” said aspiring architect Bryce Ketterhagen.

Among the projects students have made so far are coasters, photos, phone cases, glasses, baseballs, signs and cutting boards.

“They know what the machine can do. Now, how creative can they be?” Navis said.

Interest grew so fast that Navis will be teaching the class to middle-schoolers this summer.

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