View Full Version : Opinions on donating a system

Bruce Volden
11-16-2010, 9:48 PM
I have 3 lasers and seldom have them all running at once (3 years?) and am thinking of donating one to the local school industrial arts program. Yeah I know, WOW, however I must state the facts. The machine I'm willing to donate is 15 years old and still runs like new.....however it is stuck in WIN 98 land so I'll be throwing in a 'puter with CD 10. Has anyone out there donated to a local school anything of "value" ? Out here in the boondocks of South Dakota I can't think of anything on the down side that could be a future pitfall for me. Heck, they still play cowboys and indians here and "mock shoot" at each other in elementary class recess!!!

Well, think about it and let me know your thoughts.


Mike Mackenzie
11-16-2010, 10:29 PM

First the resale value of a 15 year old system is not that much. By donating it to a school will allow you to write off X amount as a charitable contribution. Probably more than what you would get to sell the system.

They will not be your competition however it could create future competition.

If you are not using it then it is loosing more value by just sitting there. I think it is a win win situation for you. Tax write off, clear up some space, and help the children of tomorrow.

Joe Pelonio
11-16-2010, 11:01 PM
I have donated a lot of signs and banners, but a laser is, after all, a dangerous machine in the hands of inexperienced students. I'd suggest that in accepting it they be required to sign a waiver absolving you from any liability, and they will follow all safety rules and instructions. Also, sure that you give them the manual. Hopefully the instructor will have strict oversight but may not have used one before.

Jim Underwood
11-16-2010, 11:16 PM
Might be wise to identify who would take responsibility for the machine and teaching a class on it's use, and get them to promote the idea.

Don Gares
11-16-2010, 11:26 PM
I am on a School Board in extreme SE Iowa which is probably as rural as you are. We currently have less than 400 students in K through 12 which makes us a very small school district. Although we would appreciate such an offer I seriously doubt if we would actually accept the laser simply because we would not have an instructor qualified to run it, let alone teach someone else how.

To be honest I would almost bet that the minute that you ask us to sign a waiver holding you harmless that it would scare the balance of the School Board to death and they wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

The above is simply what I think that you would run into at our school. Of course your school district could be considerably different and they might welcome the gift. If you do decide to offer it to them I would suggest that you definitely start the discussion at the top (superintendent) and let him/her take it to the board if he/she so desires.

Just my $.02 worth.

Don (off to Des Moines in the morning to the IA School Board Convention)

Jim Coffee
11-17-2010, 1:56 AM
As we all know a Laser is a complicated device that in some respects is a profession in itself. It can also open many doors to related technologies.

Our young people should be learning these technologies...and if you are willing to donate an operating laser to a school I think that is commendable.

Perhaps a more valuable donation would be that you also donate your time/expertise. Even as little as an hour a week. You teach with the laser. Let the shop instructor learn from you also.

While this will take your time from other things...by my value system if you donated and taught...not only would you be making an extraordinary contribution to our youth...but I guarantee you that you would learn and earn more from the experience than you could imagine. It's a Win/Win.

Let us know what you end up doing.

Josh Richard
11-17-2010, 6:13 AM
As a teacher using a laser, Thank you.

I would agree with Jim Coffee and say that starting an dialog and or partnership with the school would be the best start. If any gift is to be given, let it be used well. Teach an interested teacher how to use the machine and what can be done with it. After that, work with some students who have an interest.

a few years ago we acquired a fancy CNC mill that we still need to spend cash and time learning how to use!

Wil Lambert
11-17-2010, 6:25 AM
I think this would be a good opportunity for the kids. At my daughters Junior High School they have laser and CNC in shop class. Her school is a public school. The kids seem to enjoy making things on the machines. After seeing what they make the teacher could use some lessons on what the machines are capable of.


Dan Hintz
11-17-2010, 11:01 AM
If you're donating it, they can't make you responsible for its use, so no need for a waiver of any kind. That would be like donating a car, the new owner runs someone over, and they sue you for donating it.

Lee DeRaud
11-17-2010, 11:11 AM
...but a laser is, after all, a dangerous machine in the hands of inexperienced students.Seriously?!? The key concept here is "industrial arts program": compared to a tablesaw or arc welder, a laser is about as dangerous as a butterknife.

Rodne Gold
11-17-2010, 11:17 AM
Wow.. forget the school , seems too litiguous to me ... perhaps a better bet would be to raffle it within the sawmill community and use any funds for sawmill creek .. with the proviso it doesnt go within 50 or 100 miles of you so it can't become a potential competitor..

Scott Shepherd
11-17-2010, 11:25 AM
What would you be teaching them? Not much, I don't think. As someone that came from a vocational school, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have people donate their obsolete materials and machinery for us to try and learn on and use. All we ever got was high speed steel tool blanks. My first week in a real shop, I was lost and clueless. The tools I had to work with while in school weren't what was used in the real world.

Having all that obsolete technology hurt us for the future, rather than prepared us for the future.

Want to donate something to them, get them a new laser with a new computer with a new operating system. Otherwise, it'll be a tool that few use and bother to learn.

Just my opinion.

Robert Walters
11-17-2010, 1:16 PM

I don't feel a K12 is the way to go. As other have said the instructors have to be taught on how to use it and it's capabilities. If that one teacher leaves, then what?

Even with it's age, it's still VERY useful... in the right hands of course.

What I might suggest is finding some place that does robotics or other engineering type instruction. As a project, they could reverse engineer it, learn about it, and even upgrade it to the latest and greatest then use the laser for other classes/projects.

Or at least some place that has a NEED for a laser engraver (or replacement one) and will appreciate it's donation. What/who that is, I don't know.