Epilog Laser equipment enhances curriculum at Queensland Academy for Creative Industries.
In the Design Technology course at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries, the Epilog Laser system gets used for a variety of reasons. Student Benjamin Hovav tells us that regardless of the application in the class, the laser is used creatively as a tool and medium to create art with the highest precision and quality.
“In Design Technology we use the laser cutter as a learning tool enabling students to work with CAM (computer aided manufacturing) in a practical sense,” Benjamin said. “The laser was introduced into the school not long after I began attending, and because of this I was lucky to have a significant amount of time working with the laser as I collaborated with teachers and other students.
In an environment like the Academy where the students are keen and dedicated to their field of study, an industry-standard piece of hardware like the laser is something everyone wants to try out, especially in Visual Arts and Design Technology,” Benjamin said. “Our Epilog system is highly valuable towards study and has been very well-received by students looking to achieve high-quality outcomes.
Of course there was a learning curve for all of us implementing the laser into the curriculum as well as simply finding out how to maximize all the capabilities of the laser,” he said, “but students here were quite fast to pick up how the Epilog Laser system works and all it can do.”
“Benjamin tells us that computer-aided drawing (CAD) has always been a hobby of his, but he was eager to create physical models of his CAD creations, so computer-aided manufacturing with the laser was the way to go.
“When it comes to accuracy and fine detail I can be a little obsessive, so when I saw the accuracy from the Epilog system and the laser’s ability to create such a clean, precise cut I was totally hooked,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin tells us he likes to experiment with different materials for different projects, but balsa is the top choice when it comes to his architectural models. “Materials really depend on the project and work I’m doing, but with architectural models I tend to go for balsa as it is thin, cuts quickly and has the nice woody finish,” he said. “However I prefer to keep experimenting with different materials especially when I use the laser in visual art. I try to creatively push the laser not just as CAM tool, but also as an artistic medium.”
Benjamin told us the first project he used the laser for was an architectural model made of balsa wood. “It was a vector-based model and I used the laser to mimic tree branch forms, which I always found a bit ironic - using the machine to make organic forms – but what impressed me the most was how precisely the laser could cut those shapes,” he said.
Another fun project included rastering sections of logs onto diamond cut acrylic, which when lit up illuminated the raster engravings. I also used the laser cutter to make nets for 3D Geodesic shapes where I was experimenting with the power of vectoring to create half cuts in materials so that they would fold instead of cut completely and then be able to be pushed and folded into the shapes,” Benjamin said.
In educational settings, one of the most important aspects of the laser is its ease-of-use. To get the most out of the equipment, it’s important students can easily access the system and use it to its fullest capabilities.
“In an environment like the Academy where the students are keen and dedicated to their field of study, an industry-standard piece of hardware like the laser is something everyone wants to try out, especially in Visual Arts and Design Technology,” Benjamin said. “Our Epilog system is highly valuable towards study and has been very well-received by students looking to achieve high-quality outcomes."
To get a basic understanding of the laser is not a steep learning curve and most students can grasp basics quite easily as functions are simple, Benjamin tells us. “Mastering or becoming adept with such machinery is simply a matter of spending time working with the machine and in the educational realm students are able to gain that basic understanding through class or tutorials.
The more they understand the machine, the more they can utilize the Epilog system to enhance their design projects and take them to a higher level. It’s truly an invaluable tool at the Academy,” he said.