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David Ardley

CAM

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I have recently returned from a (self financed!) weekend conference that was excellent - held at Oakham school and sponsored by the Audi Design Foundation.

Lots of lovely CAD and CAM kit on display and workshops offering insight available. Whilst I hold high the need to be technology aware and competent I have concerns about the way that these initiatives and processes have gathered the limelight in recent years at the expense of some of the more basic (read intrinsic) manufacturing skills that I believe students need to genuinely develop good designing skills.

High end manufacture (CAM) is here to stay as an important part of the manufacturing process (laser cutters, routers, CNC Mills and lathes and welding centres etc.) but I feel students are losing some of the basic 'hands-on' skills that they need to nurture and develop a design in the manufacturing environment; feeling and touching the materials, exploring, making mistakes, understanding.....

Do not misunderstand me here. Any good department will have some CAM facility I am sure, to help convey an important component of design & technology....

...but at what expense? Any views?

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