FARMINGTON – Students in a composites manufacturing class worked closely together on a step-by-step process Thursday to create a mold for a long board at Foster Career and Technical Education Center.

Among the steps were to make a resin jacket and a large vacuum bag to wrap around the whole project, which was then tightly sealed and air vacuumed out.

As they worked they consulted instructor Chris DeMarco on the best way to do it.

Composite manufacturing produces composite material out of fiberglass, carbon fiber and non ballistic Kevlar, DeMarco said.

These fabrics are infused with resin and the resin hardens over a period of time. The part that is made would be lighter than metal of the same dimension. The material you put in dictates the properties of the part, DeMarco said.

Currently the composites program is only half-time and can accommodate 12 students but many students interested are being turned away.

If the program was to go full-time, it could accommodate 24 students.

Former Foster tech Director Glenn Kapiloff, who is still involved in budgeting for the program, told the Regional School Unit 9 school board of the need to expand the program several times. But budget constraints have prevented it from being funded.

It remains on a needs list. To increase the position to full-time would cost $24,960, according to Kapiloff’s information. The Foster program is nationally recognized at this level, Kapiloff told the school board Tuesday

When school Director Doug Dunlap of Farmington saw the need list in January, he met with a local college network and discussed it with representatives. They agreed to set up a working team to see if they could get national or regional funding from the industry to support the full-time position for two years. If that happens, then the district would eligible to have the costs reimbursed each year after that.

Kapiloff asked the school board Tuesday if they would be willing to support the program if the funding is found to support the position.

Directors will consider that request at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at the Forum at Mt. Blue Campus.

DeMarco is a part-time composites instructor and part-time science teacher at Mt. Blue Campus.

He and students are working with Cousineau Wood Products in North Anson, which makes gun stocks, and Winterstick Snowboards in Carrabassett Valley, which makes snowboards, in a variety of ways.

During the program, students are getting an understanding of material and physical properties and how strong they will be.

One of the key pieces for students to be able to build anything is to understand how strong it is, DeMarco said.

All of the students will take a national accreditation test to earn certifications as composition technicians and in vacuum infusion. A graduate of Foster’s program has worked on U.S. and Japanese world cup yachts, DeMarco said.

Foster’s composite manufacturing program is using mostly a closed molding technique that OSHA and Environmental Protection Agency standards are pushing the industry toward, DeMarco said.

Junior Aidan Salisbury of Temple, said he likes the program because they have the independence to build any part and then seeing if DeMarco approves of the way they decided to do it.

Reed Wells of Wilton is hoping to go into aeronautical engineering. The skills and materials they use in composite manufacturing can be transferred to that field, he said.

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Foster Career and Technical Education Center composites manufacturing teacher Chris DeMarco, center, explains the next step in the process of making a long board mold Thursday to students William Salisbury, left, of Temple, Colton Nason of New Sharon, Tyler Thorne of Farmington, and Aidan Salisbury of Temple, William’s twin brother, at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington.

Aidan Salisbury of Temple, left, sprays Tact, a glue mist, on a resin jacket while his twin brother, William Salisbury and fellow junior Tyler Thorne of Farmington, hold it straight as they work on creating a long board mold Thursday at the Foster Career and Technical Education Center at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington.

Foster Career and Technical Education Center junior Tyler Thorne, left, of Farmington, junior William Salisbury of Temple and his twin brother, Aidan, work on making a mold for a long board Thursday in the composite manufacturing program at Mt. Blue Campus in Farmington. Looking on are sophomores, Dillan Wells of Stratton who attends Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township, and Colton Nason of New Sharon who attends Mt. Blue High School. Wells and Nason were observing the class in an effort to determine what programs they want to take at Foster next year.

Students Reed Wells of Wilton, left, Aidan Salisbury of Temple, Tyler Thorne of Farmington and William Salisbury of Temple work through a process Thursday to create a long board mold in the composite manufacturing program at Foster Career and Technical Education Center in Farmington.

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