The students of Fallbrook High School metal shop and wood shop teacher Jacob Bagnell won seven Best of Class honors in the General Technology portion of the San Diego County Fair’s student showcase, and four of those also won Best in Show.
A motorcycle built by a group led by David Armet was given Best in Show for the Group Project division as well as Best of Class for second, third, and fourth year students. The Group Project which won Best of Class for first-year students was a trailer and smoker whose completion was led by Joseph Bishop.
In the General Metal Work division, a lathe hammer created by Blake Purpura won Best in Show and also Best of Class for second, third, and fourth year students while a sheet metal arrow gave Wyatt Rollins the Best of Class award for first-year students.
A motorcycle triple tree gave Andrew Miller the Best in Show award in the Welding Processes/Machine Work division as well as Best of Class for second, third, and fourth year students.
The new General Technology – Special Needs division award is given to the mentor; April Paulson won Best in Show and Best of Class for first-year students. The Best of Class project for first-year students entering the Other Project division was a set of coin rings created by Thomas Carlisle.
“It’s awesome to see my students succeed and do well,” Bagnell said.
Armet, who was a junior during 2016-17, led the group which built a custom Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster Evo Hardtail. “They built a whole motorcycle from scratch,” Bagnell said.
Temecula Harley-Davidson donated a stock 1200 Evo Sportster. “It was nothing like it looks like now,” Bagnell said. Armet and his group cut apart the motorcycle and re-created it. The students built a frame and machined parts.
The group also included non-student Keith DeCuir, who owns DeCuir Manufacturing in Fallbrook and allowed the students to paint the motorcycle in his shop. “He taught the kids how to mix paint, how to put clear coats, how to sand and buff,” Bagnell said.
Biltwell, which is located in Temecula, donated parts.
“I didn’t do anything on that motorcycle. It was completely 100 percent done by kids,” Bagnell said. The motorcycle will be displayed both at Temecula Harley-Davidson and at Biltwell in the near future.
Bishop led a group which built a barbeque tailgate party trailer. Flooring was put on the trailer, which has four rear wheels, and a barbeque smoker was secured on top of the trailer floor. Wood can be stacked underneath the barbeque, and a table to the side of the barbeque is also connected to the trailer floor.
“They did a beautiful job on it. It’s one of the nicest projects I’ve seen out of a high school,” Bagnell said.
School district maintenance worker Luis Herrera, who graduated from Fallbrook High School in 1998, also provided guidance. “He really took those kids under his wing and really helped out,” Bagnell said.
The trailer and smoker project was Herrera’s idea. “The kids just ran with it,” Bagnell said.
The beginning class actually included some students who had taken the class previously but could not take the advanced class due to their schedules. “I wanted to push them to the next level,” Bagnell said.
The balanced wheels and mounted tires were also part of the design and fabrication work. “It was just a really good job,” Bagnell said. “It was really cool to see the kids do it.”
Bishop was a senior during 2016-17 but a first-year metal shop student. “He’s a super motivated kid,” Bagnell said.
Purpura, who completed his junior year in June, was in his third year in Bagnell’s classes. He fabricated the top and then the base of the lathe hammer. “He’s more of a welder,” Bagnell said. “He wanted to try machining.”
Bits were used to create the designs on the bottom of the hammer. Purpura used the computer numerical control (CNC) mill for the hole which connects the top and bottom. “He did an excellent job,” Bagnell said.
Purpura believes that the proportions can be improved and will make that one of his projects for 2017-18.
Rollins made a sheet metal arrow during his senior year. “I didn’t expect it to do as well as it did,” Bagnell said.
That wasn’t a matter of Bagnell doubting Rollins’ talent but rather that Rollins eschewed a more modern approach. “He used the old school technology to do it,” Bagnell said. “Everything was hand-tooled. He didn’t use any machines.”
The arrow was hand-ground. Rollins used oxyacetylene welding to pre-heat the material and then attached the parts. He ground down the welds and added shine. “It came out really good,” Bagnell said.
Miller designed and made super narrow triple trees for 39-millimeter fork tubes of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. “He’s really into motorcycles,” Bagnell said. “He wanted to make a project based on that.”
Miller used stock Harley-Davidson triple trees, took measurements, and then used a computer-aided design program to design the parts which were then milled.
“He is an exceptional machinist,” Bagnell said.
Although Miller’s junior year was his third with Bagnell, the school obtained a CNC milling machine for 2016-17. “He finally had the technology to design and build this,” Bagnell said.
Fallbrook Union High School District director of student services Melissa Marovich helped arrange the financing for the new milling machine. “It really has taken our program to the next level,” Bagnell said.
The triple tree included an integrated mount for a headlight, which is not on any known triple tree on the market. “It really was his design,” Bagnell said.
Paulson, who graduated in June, plans to pursue a career as a special education instructor. She worked with special needs student Gaspar Ramirez to use recycled material from the shop to create a metal motorcycle.
“That was a really interesting one,” Bagnell said.
Ramirez learned how to grind the scrap metal to resemble forks of a motorcycle and was taught the basics of metal inert gas (MIG) welding.
“She basically coached the student on how to do it,” Bagnell said. “He ended up taking to it really quickly.”
Ramirez was not in Bagnell’s class. “It was really interesting to watch them work together,” Bagnell said.
Maverick Aivaliotis provided guidance to Paulson on the operation of the machines. Paulson then taught Ramirez how the machines function.
“He kind of just went with it,” Bagnell said. “It came out really cool.”
The project provided experience for Paulson in instructing special education students while allowing Ramirez to participate in an activity other students are able to enjoy. “I think it’s kind of a cool deal,” Bagnell said. “I’m glad that the county fair did it.”
Carlisle displayed three rings made from United States quarters.
“He got on a kick of making rings. He found something on-line,” Bagnell said.
Carlisle drilled holes through the center of two of the coins with a drill press, slid the former money onto a cylindrical anvil, and pounded down the sides with a nylon hammer. He hammered and rolled the other quarter but did not sand it so that its hammered character would be seen.
“It was a unique project,” Bagnell said. “He did a good job.”
Carlisle was a senior during 2016-17.
Bagnell’s students had 30 entries in this year’s Student Showcase. “We entered more projects than any other high school,” he said.
Last year Bagnell’s students entered 26 projects including five which received Best of Class and three which were given Best in Show. Bagnell’s students entered 12 projects in the 2015 county fair.
“The program is continuing to expand,” Bagnell said. “I think we’ve really developed it.”
The 2016-17 school year was Bagnell’s fourth at Fallbrook High School and eighth as a teacher. “The people of this town get excited when they hear there are still programs of this type,” Bagnell said.
Bagnell began entering his students in the county fair in 2015. “I think it’s an excellent way to exhibit the work,” he said.
Fallbrook High School’s participation in the General Technology segment of the Student Showcase also allows the students to view the work produced by other schools. “It was neat to see the competition,” Bagnell said.
In terms of the Student Showcase, those projects are considered competition, but in terms of the desired industries of many of Bagnell’s students, the industrial arts programs elsewhere allow students from those schools professional opportunities. “You want to see the expansion of these programs because they really do help kids,” Bagnell said.
During 2016-17, Bagnell taught three metal shop classes and two wood shop classes. Next year Bagnell and Matthew Eaton will work together on a class which integrates Eaton’s robotics expertise including electrical and circuit design, and group projects will consist of Bagnell’s students and Eaton’s students. “I’m just really excited to see how it works out,” Bagnell said. “It should be really interesting to see what we come up with.”