(PDF) March 23, 2018 – Last month, students within the Advanced Manufacturing Professional (AMP) Program presented design ideas for their initial project, a birdhouse, to several community partners from REC, Inc., Combined Technology Solutions, Hinkley Yachts, Tanglewood Conservatories, Cambridge International, Winchester Construction, and Maryland Plastics.
The winning design was submitted by Marcus Gould from North Caroline High School, and will now be mass produced by students in the AMP program.
AMP teacher Keith Hale marveled over the process leading up to the presentation. “In the past, I would tell them to build a birdhouse,” Hale said. “I would give them the wood, a pattern, point them in the direction of the power tools, and let them go." Some birdhouses were well-built, and others were less than desirable. In the end, the student got a grade and a birdhouse.”
Hale explained how the Advanced Manufacturing Professional Program is completely different. “Our class has been concentrating on a birdhouse for weeks, and the funny thing is we haven't made a single one. We researched local birds and visited Atkins Arboretum. We learned about strong wood joints that improve the strength of the birdhouse using minimal fasteners, and that what is aesthetically pleasing for humans can be life-threatening to birds. We made blueprints, went through design revisions, and learned about estimating costs and budgetary constraints. Now we are getting into marketing pitches and advertising campaigns.”
Now that a design has been chosen, the class will begin the process of mass producing the birdhouse, from programming the appropriate machine to assembly to performing quality checks. Hale explained, “Next will come sanding and finishing. We chose tongue oil to finish the birdhouses because we learned tongue oil is safe and non-toxic, especially to newly hatched chicks.”
When one student asked about keeping the birdhouses, Hale explained, "Manufacturing is about selling a product. I've heard of sellers who were their own best customers, but they never made any money. If you worked for Apple making iPhones, would you get to keep the product you made?" The student replied, "No, but we might get an employee discount."
Once complete, students will present the birdhouses to the business partners and sell them. The money raised will help finance the next AMP project, which is a clock.