Tumut High goes racing

Tumut High goes racing

Ethan Costello, Brendan Castles, and Jeremy Hannah watch the cars.
Ethan Costello, Brendan Castles, and Jeremy Hannah watch the cars.

Tumut High School students went head to head on the racetrack yesterday (Thursday), racing mini CNC printed cars as part of the international F1 for Schools program.

F1 for Schools is an international competition spanning 40 countries and 20 million students, with the winning team decided at the grand finals in Texas in October. Australian students have won in four of the nine years the competition has been running.

F1 Regional Coordinator for Riverina-Snowy Mountains Bill Crane said the program is invaluable for students.

“They get a real sense of achievement. This is the fulfilment of all their hard work and their learning,” he said. “They can see something tangible that they’ve designed, there’s a real sense of fulfillment.

“If they’re competing for the fun of it, if their competing aiming to get to the state finals, if they’re competing to challenge themselves, they get a lot out of it.”

The students design the cars using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and input their designs into a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. A CNC lathe and router then creates the cars out of a block of balsa, according to the specification the kids have developed.

It’s a process similar to 3D Printing, with the difference being that 3D printers add material to create a finish product, whereas CNC machines start with a block of solid material and cut away to achieve an end result.

“It’s really exciting for a small rural community like Tumut to have same technology and the same opportunities as Sydney schools,” Mr Crane said.

Tumut High principal Don Dickson also stressed the value of what the students are able to learn in their Graphics and Robotics classes.

“It’s amazing technology that’s being used to build these cars,” he said. “There are very few schools that have this kind of technology, so we’re really lucky that we have this opportunity. This is great for the school, great for the students, and great for the community.”

Visy contributed to the fundraising for the technology used in the event, and a representative at the Tumut High competition said it was “mind-blowing” what the students could do.

“This is computing with a clear real-world application,” he said.

The cars can go from 0 – 80 kilometres in a second, and are judged on how fast they travel a designated distance as well as having points awarded for their designs.

Two committee members from Re-Engineering Australia, who are responsible for the competition nationally, travelled to judge Tumut’s event.

It’s the first year Tumut High students will be entering the competition, after the school did a practice run last year in which Phoebe James took out the title. The winner of the local competition will go on to compete in the state finals in Sydney.

The aim of the program is to get students engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by using those skills in a fun, practical, and competitive environment.

The cars travelled the length of a mini racetrack in between 1 and 2 seconds.
The cars travelled the length of a mini racetrack in between 1 and 2 seconds.

 

A puff of smoke as the car disappears down the racetrack.
A puff of smoke as the car disappears down the racetrack.

 

Update:

Corey Crain flashes to F1 win

Six Tumut High School students will be going on to the F1 for Schools state final in Sydney, following the regional event at the high school last week.

Year eight student Corey Crain was the overall winner, with Will Hassett in second place, and Ethan Contessa coming third.

Jeremy Hannah had the fastest lap time.

Winners are decided through a combination of how fast their cars complete a lap, and how many points are awarded to them for the design of their cars.

Representatives from Re-engineering Australia travelled to Tumut in order to judge the competition.

F1 Regional Coordinator for Riverina-Snowy Mountains Bill Crane said the students’ work is far from over.

“Three teams of two will be going to the state competition to race,” he said.

“Over the next month the students will be redesigning their cars to make them even more competitive.”

F1 for Schools is an international competition spanning 40 countries and 20 million students, with the winning team decided at the grand finals in Texas in October.

Australian students have won in four of the nine years the competition has been running.

The students design the cars using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software and input their designs into a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine.

A CNC lathe and router then creates the cars out of a block of balsa, according to the specification the kids have developed.

It’s a process similar to 3D Printing, with the difference being that 3D printers add material to create a finish product, whereas CNC machines start with a block of solid material and cut away to achieve an end result.

The aim of the program is to get students engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by using those skills in a fun, practical, and competitive environment.