With problem solving at the top of the list of skills we need to teach our students, many school budgets include funding for makerspace or fabrication lab tools. But what if you need to write a grant or fundraise to purchase the new laser cutter that you know will revolutionize your students’ making experience?
We’ve compiled the top five essential points to include in your laser cutter grant to help you communicate the benefits of purchasing a laser cutter for your school.
1. Accessible Problem Solving
A Dremel DigiLab laser cutter democratizes making, helping students of all ages and skill levels create prototypes and products that solve real-world problems. We call it the “low floor, high ceiling” principle. It’s easy to get started on a basic level and also makes highly advanced, professional-quality projects possible. Students can move from creating basic cuts to designing and producing intricate projects in a short amount of time.
2. Wide Academic Applications
Laser cutters help teachers meet and exceed academic standards, and learning becomes more meaningful to students in the process. STEM and STEAM teachers are the obvious laser cutter users, but lasers hold so many possibilities for language arts, social studies, and for teachers who want to use the 21st century version of the die cutter and laminator.
3. Cost Effective
Because laser cutters produce projects so much more quickly than 3D printers, you’ll need fewer of them to handle all of your students’ projects while reducing the time it takes to produce them. You can also choose from a wide variety of materials to use according to your budget for each project. For example, cardboard is a popular--and often free--material for prototyping. Large sheets of wood are economical to purchase and cut to laser-bed size. For special projects, you can buy acrylic and high-quality wood. The DigiLab laser cutter has a special feature that makes it easy to use materials efficiently, even down to leftover scraps!
Because laser cutters are so versatile, you can spread the costs across many different uses, much like a copy machine. Plus, laser cutters can actually generate income. Read How the Laser Cutter Can Pay for Itself here.
Teachers say the laser cutter is the most-used item in their makerspaces because almost everyone can figure out a way to use it. If you’re considering a makerspace or fabrication lab for the first time, start with a laser cutter. Laser cutters have some of the functionality of die cut machines, CNC machines, jigsaws, box cutters, and other rotary tools. Its low floor of entry invites teachers of all grade levels and subjects to get excited about using it for their own, personalized projects. The DigiLab laser cutter is also the perfect size to place on a mobile maker cart.
5. Prepares Future-Ready Students
Laser cutters help teach students skills they’ll need for their future jobs, jobs that have yet to be invented. Customized, digital fabrication--creating products on a computer-directed machine--is the way of the future. Learning to work with laser cutters teaches students to be comfortable with future tools.
Need some grant ideas?
Here are a few grant opportunities for the 2019 - 2020 school year.
- Innovation Technology Education Fund
- Set up your own fundraising initiative on Donors Choose
- Customize your Get Ed Funding search according to how you will use your laser cutter for your grade level and subject.
Ready to write your grant?
Start with these questions to determine your school’s full costs:
• Number: How many laser cutters do you need?
• Set-up: Does your school already have a woodshop or makerspace with a ventilation hook-up? Do you need a booster fan?
• Filtration: If you don’t have a ventilation hook-up, do you need a portable filtration system?
• Materials: What materials might you need to purchase to have your makerspace well-stocked for laser projects?