Centre for Academic Practice

Past Projects

Video in the Machine Workshop

  • Videos to show students how to use metal machining equipment

Kevin Badni, a Senior Lecturer in the Loughborough Design School, here describes his experience of producing tutorial videos, funded by a Teaching Innovation Award, in order to show students how to use metal machining equipment. His findings will be of interest to any colleagues whose students need to learn (and remember) how to use specialist equipment with limited technician support.

In the Loughborough Design School all first year students (approximately 130) take a core module of Prototyping for Designers within the Machine workshop. They are required to make a PCB holder using equipment in the metal machine shop e.g. Lathes, milling machines, Drills etc. over an 8 week period.

In their second year undergraduate students take a core Design & Manufacturing Technologies module where they are required to make a fully working injection moulding tool. This module requires students to spend 5 weeks in the metal machine shop using a large variety of machines and specialised tools.

As a result of the large numbers of students, the technicians in the workshops were finding it increasingly difficult to give 1 to 1 tuition. A lot of their time is taken up repeating basic procedures that the students have been taught but are either lacking confidence to use the machines or have forgotten from their first year.

 To overcome these problems a number of high quality videos demonstrating a number of FAQ regarding the metal machine shop were produced. The videos were placed on LEARN and on You Tube so the students can access them from within the workshops rather than having to go and find a remote computer to view them. The videos had individual QR codes (see below)associated to them allowing for quick and easy access. These QR codes are printed out and displayed in the workshop.

Our new Teaching Innovation Award project which is just starting builds on this successful initiative by addressing the issue of understanding complicated machine set-up operations using a completely different innovative approach. It intends to show how to set-up the machines using the newly emerging Augmented Reality technique. Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer science that involves combining the physical world and an interactive, three-dimensional virtual world. AR blurs the line between what is real and what is computer-generated by enhancing what viewers see and hear when they view the machines through the screens of a tablet computer or smart phone. The viewer will see animated instructions of the machine being set-up overlaid on the actual machine. This enhanced reality will allow students to understand the complicated set-up procedures in situ with the actual machines, rather than remotely via a video. The technology of overlaying virtual worlds on the physical world is also very transferable for other operations that students may need to undertake during their programmes.

If you have a QR code scanner app on your smartphone, try scanning the code displayed here to view one of the videos.