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FDSH wins ShopBot in contest

October 22, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, , Messenger News

Fort Dodge Senior high has a new toy.

Ed Birkey, FDSH industrial technology teacher, won a ShopBot for a year, sponsored by American Woodworker Magazine, for his national contest winning essay.

The ShopBot Desktop is a bench-top, computer numerical controlled router. It offers woodworking and engraving capabilities in a small space with the ability to machine parts from wood, plastic, aluminum and more.

The new technology recently arrived at the school.

Student Joe Walston already has become a "master" of the machine. According to Walston, students will use computer-aided drafting software to draw their designs. Computer-aided manufacturing software is then used to program the cuts for the design. The ShopBot will use the codes from the CAM to actually cut and carve the design.

"I plan to go into engineering or technical drafting after high school," Walston said. "Having the ShopBot is really building up what I can do and learn and will definitely help me with my secondary education."

Birkey said having the ShopBot will provide students with the opportunity to compete at the State SkillsUSA Automated Manufacturing Technology contest, which evaluates teams for employment in integrated manufacturing technology fields of CAD, CAM and CNC.

"That's industry right there," Birkey said. "There are lots of jobs in manufacturing and CNC machining is a growing area. Companies are looking to hire people with the skills the kids will gain by having this machine in the classroom. It's going to provide experience and opportunity."

Birkey writes a blog for the American Woodworker Magazine website that will share information and pictures on the students' projects using the ShopBot throughout the year.

The blog is located at



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