GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport High School FIRST Robotics team is gearing up for competition by bringing their computer-generated designs to life.
From state university logos to military insignia, students can etch just about any design into wood to create a customized work of art.
It all begins with an idea that students put into a computer. They then transfer the idea into a manufacturing device, like a laser cutter or a Computer Numeric Control machine.
“Instead of a human having to stand there and tell the machine what to do, the machine just takes these xyz coordinates and actually cuts an image out of a piece of material,” explained Clint Brawley, engineering and robotics teacher at Gulfport High School.
Brawley also serves as the FIRST Senior Mentor for Mississippi.
FIRST Robotics Team Fusion is crafting tables, cutting boards and wall pieces available for sale. The method helped the team cover the nearly $60,000 bill to get to the World Championship last year.
“We’ve sold quite a few, so obviously a lot of people like them. We always get custom order, and people want either an Alabama or Florida or something like that," said Jared Brock, a senior at Gulfport High.
All year, the students get ready to compete by working with industry professionals who teach them the tricks of the trade.
“I’ve got engineers from NASA, from the Navy, from the Air Force, from Mississippi Power. These engineers come in and work side by side in these students," Brawley added.
Before they hit the big stage, the fundraiser gives them a chance to put the some of skills they learn in class to the test.
Brock stated, “With what we’re doing in here, we get hands on experience like going out, showing what we do and actually getting real world experience with it.”
Team Fusion hopes that experience will bring them back to the world stage.
Anyone interested in ordering a customized piece by contacting the Gulfport High Robotics Team on Facebook or call 228-896-6011.