Year 8 students at Guilsborough School Academy Trust are taking up the challenge to design and make a custom ping pong bat. Ping pong is a sport available to students before school starts, break/lunch time and at the end of school. P. Gaughan, teacher of Design and Technology notes, “We have linked the project to the national curriculum for Design Technology; the project allows the students to cover the key areas of Design Technology such as research, development of design proposals, making, testing and evaluation”.
The students begin the project by researching table tennis bats, properties of materials and different ergonomics designs for the handle of their ping pong bat. The student’s research and interview potential customers so they can identify popular designs and preferences for the bats. Next up they have to come up with a range of design ideas for their handles based around ergonomic principles and they begin to sketch out their ping pong bats in 3D. Once the students come up with a final design they begin their practical work by marking out the shape and size of their paddle. A variety of tools are used in order to shape the paddle including, a coping saw, scroll saw, and belt sander.
The method used to join the handle and the paddle is done by means of a dowel joint. The students work in buddy system on the pillar drill to drill the holes for the dowel joint. The students achieve an ergonomic handle by marking out the shape of their hand/fingers on the handle (whether it is a shake hand/pen holder grip they prefer). A number of tools are used to reach the desired ergonomic handle, for example – a spokeshave, variety of files, belt sander, coping/scroll saw etc. The students sand their work down and apply a number of finishes to their handle so it has a smooth texture.
Double sided tape is then used to stick the neoprene foam and rubber to the paddle. A variety of colours are available for the students to pick from. A laser cutter and dye sublimation are the CAD CAM equipment used on this project. The students use Techsoft 2D design to create a design for their handle which is then engraved by a laser cutter. The students also get the opportunity to use dye sublimation printing to design one side of their paddle. The students thoroughly enjoy this project. It gives the students the opportunity to be independent learners and work with a variety of materials, tools and equipment. The students can then utilize their own ping pong bat during break time, lunch and Physical Education (PE) lessons.