Each year in CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing), students design and manufacture jewelry boxes. It is a project where students bring together what they’ve learned already (in CIM and in a prior course Introduction to Engineering Design) with the CAD-CAM-CNC process:
- Begin by designing both halves of a jewelry box in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, Autodesk Inventor.
- Next use a CAM (Computer Aided Machining) software to set the toolpath and generate the G&M code that will create the box.
- Bring to the CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) mill and machine the box.
Students have a chance to get creative with designs for both the box and the initials or picture they engrave on the box top. They use math skills to plot coordinates and measure precisely. They integrate their knowledge of three different computer softwares and the G&M code programming language. And in the end, they have a physical jewelry box that they can take home and show off.
This year, for the first time, we decided to do a mini-fundraiser making customizable jewelry boxes to sell for the holidays. You can see one maple jewelry box with a snowman on it above. Customers could pick from among a few set designs, or choose 2-3 initials that they wanted engraved on the box. My students have been working hard to fill orders the last few days, coming in before and after school. Below is a picture of several orders completed and ready to be delivered.
One student said he felt like they were Santa’s elves, busy at work to get gifts made and out by Christmas! All in all, we had a lot of fun, while learning and practicing our CIM skills. We made a little bit of money, and got to see a manufacturing process through from start to finish — from designing to producing to finishing to selling!