E&R Unit 5
Machines Introduction
Welcome to Unit 5

This unit is about learning some of the machines and cool things in our Makerspace.  In this unit, you’ll have a choice of which machines you’d like to work with – each will require getting used to a new program, and creating something simple with it.  As you work through this unit, you’ll need to choose and complete the assignment for at least 3 of the following 4 options:

  • Create a small electronics project by soldering
  • Create a small project on the laser using a design from Photoshop
  • Create a small project on the vinyl cutter using a design from Photoshop
  • Create a drawing on the CNC machine using G-Code

We have three weeks for you to complete three of the four options in our Makerspace.  

  1. OPTION 1: Learn how to solder and build a small project by soldering the electronic components in their proper places on a printed circuit board.
  2. OPTION 2: Create a cool plastic keychain design on our laser by making an image in Photoshop and then cutting it with the laser.
  3. OPTION 3: Create a custom sticker with the vinyl cutter by starting with an image in Photoshop and then cutting it with our Roland vinyl cutter. 
  4. OPTION 4: Make a machine draw a picture by creating a program in G-Code and then having the CNC machine draw it out.

When you’re done, you’ll have made three different things using three different machines and you will have learned at least three new programs!


Option 1: Soldering

FTC Challenge Video

This first option will start with an introduction to soldering, some notes on what electronic components do, and an overview of what you will build.  After you understand the basics, you’ll take some time to solder each of the electronic components into place on the printed circuit board. When you’re done, you’ll have a functioning electronic light project!


 Watch the introductory videos and take notes in your engineering notebook.

 Build your soldering project and confirm that it works!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off that your soldering project is complete.


Beginning How To Solder

Electronic Parts

Soldering Project

Option 2: Laser

Android Studio Reference

Our lab’s laser is a great tool for cutting, etching, and engraving a variety of materials.  The laser can handle paper, cardboard, wood, and plastics – and for this project, we’ll focus on plastics!  Start by watching the videos on how to use Photoshop to make your keychain image. Then, transfer that image to the laser’s computer, and convert it in Corel Draw.  Finally, use the laser to cut your keychain out of the acrylic of your choice!


 Watch introductory video on Photoshop and take some notes on making a design

 Create your design in Photoshop and transfer it to the laser’s computer in the makerspace

 Watch the video on converting your design for the laser

 Follow the steps to convert your design so it cuts and etches properly

 Watch the video on using the laser correctly – take some notes, there are lots of steps!

 Follow the instructions to cut your design on the laser

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your finished keychain design 

Using Photoshop

Using CorrelDraw

Using The Laser

Option 3: G-Code

FTC Autonomous Challenge Summary

Most of the machines in our lab work on something called “G-Code”.  G-Code is a simple programming language that tells machine parts to move exact distances and directions.  The laser, vinyl cutter, CNC router, CNC Plasma, and all our 3D printers all move with G-Code. In this unit, you’ll learn how to program some basic G-Code and make a machine draw you a picture!


 Watch the Introduction to G-Code tutorial and take some careful notes!

 Draw out your picture by hand, find the coordinates, and write your G-Code

 Watch the CNC Machine tutorial and take notes

 Upload your picture and watch the machine draw!  Fix your program and redraw as needed

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your G-Code drawing

Basic G-Code

G-Code Commands

The CNC Router

Option 4: Vinyl Cutter


FTC Autonomous Challenge Summary

 Download the Part 4 Rubric Only

 Vinyl Cutter Quiz

Our last option is to learn how to use the computerized vinyl cutter.  What the vinyl cutter does is it takes a black-and-white image and traces the outline.  The machine can then cut thin vinyl (like stickers) following the exact path you have on the computer.  In this option, you’ll learn some Photoshop to make a black-and-white image. You’ll then use that image to cut out a custom sticker on the vinyl cutter.


 Watch the tutorial on Photoshop and take some careful notes.

 Make a black-and-white image in Photoshop that you’ll cut out for your sticker.

 Take careful notes on the tutorial for how to use the vinyl cutter.

 Transfer your image to the vinyl cutter’s computer, trace the outline, and cut your sticker!

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your vinyl sticker

Using Photoshop

Using Roland Cut Studio

Using the Vinyl Cutter

E&R Unit 5 Map
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