By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Clean and modern are two words that describe the new industrial technologies program at Holy Trinity School in Winsted.
Classes can feature “anything you see in industry,” according to Gerry Kulzer, who is in charge of the program.
One day students might be using the new 3D printer, and another day they could be trying out the new plastic injection molder. Everything from silicon mold making to robotic programming is on the syllabus.
The opportunity for Kulzer to teach industrial classes arose after Tom Snell (who had been teaching the program from 40 years) retired last spring. Kulzer is a professional sculptor who has experience in various industrial settings. He came to Holy Trinity in 2014 as an art teacher, and continues to serve in that role.
In preparation for students’ arrival this fall, Kulzer created a new industrial curriculum that concentrates on modern manufacturing processes. To reflect the new focus, the name of the program was changed from “industrial arts” to “industrial technologies.”
Students are first exposed to the program in fifth and sixth grade. At this level, they learn about measurements and fractions, then use drafting to apply their skills. The study of transportation is also a key part of the class, and students build gravity cars, solar cars, paper airplanes, and balsa wood airplanes.
In seventh and eighth grade, students get a little more advanced with drafting, and they also learn about plastics through resin casting. For an introduction to leather working, Kulzer teaches students how to make a small item, such as a phone case.
High school students have two classes they can take this year. First is a general technology class, which touches on things like printing (stamp, woodcut, screen), 3D prototyping, basic woodworking, welding, metalwork, and websites.
To teach students about building websites, Kulzer provides exposure to HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). These are the “basic underpinnings of the web.”
Kulzer said he has used many different programs for website building, but it’s always good to know the fundamentals, because technology changes quickly.
“If you’re using HTML, you don’t have to worry about what type of program you’re using,” he said.
Another class offered at the high school this year is 3D Printing and Manufacturing. The first week of school, students practiced working with water-based clay and plaster mold-making. This is preparation for using Sculptris, a 3D modeling computer program. The software allows students to create virtual sculptures on a screen, which can later be printed on a 3D printer.
Holy Trinity has a stereolithography (SLA) 3D printer the same technology that is often used in industry.
“Stereolithography is the best way to print something 3D,” Kulzer said
The machine prints detailed, high-resolution models by taking liquid resin and turning it into a solid, layer by layer. The liquid is then cured with a light source.
Kulzer teaches at Holy Trinity three days per week, and he is in Atwater two days per week. On days he is gone, Holy Trinity’s industrial arts classes are led by elementary art teacher, Rhonda Houston. (To see an article about Kulzer’s art classes that appeared in the Nov. 3, 2014 edition of the Herald Journal, see the link at www.herald-journal.com.)