Mid-Valley middle schoolers are getting rad in the MILL! As a part of our choose-your-own STEAM Adventure summer camps this year, eight middle school students built their own skateboard deck from scratch!

These intrepid young makers started the week by laminating and pressing their skateboard decks using 7 sheets of .125” sheets of maple veneer using the Roarockit Thin Air Press. Along the way, they learned how plywood uses straight and cross-grain veneer sheets to control rigidity and add strength, and how to work quickly as a team to make sure they got enough glue on each sheet, stacked and aligned the sheets correctly on the skateboard molds, and got the whole thing in the vacuum bag before the glue started to cure (7 minutes!).

Our second and third days of camp were spent cutting out their skateboard shapes using the bandsaw or the jigsaw, depending on if the shape they wanted to cut out was traced on the top or bottom sheet of the skateboard. Camp staff supported the students by allowing them to decide how much they wanted to participate in the actual cutting, but all of our students were familiar with how the Band and Jig saws work as well as how to use them safely by the end of camp. Once their shape was cut out, the campers used a combination of rasps and sandpaper to round out the edges of their boards.

Throughout the week, all of the campers were also given the opportunity to use our Shaper Origin CNC (computer numeric control) routers to make nameplates. These machines allow the students to learn about how to safely use handheld power tools while simultaneously learning about computer-aided design and computer vision.

The students spent their downtime throughout the week coming up with a graphic for their skateboards, and they had truly brilliant and unique ideas the time they were drawing, painting, and collaging on the last day of camp.