When Luca Arcaro (OM 2020) was considering what to manufacture for his major project in VCE Product Design and Technology Units 3 & 4, it was natural for him to tap into one of his passions outside school.
“I am a keen road cyclist and I was looking for a bike for everyday use,” explains Luca. “I’d seen a few custom-made wooden bikes at a bike show I’d attended in Year 11 and that started me on the idea.”
“I’d also seen some really different Year 12 projects over my time at the School like a surfboard, an electric skateboard and even a drone,” he says. “It made me think that I could be capable of doing something cool like that.”
In the end, Luca manufactured a fully functional bicycle which was sturdy, comfortable and safe to ride on the road as well as being aesthetically pleasing. It was a remarkable piece of work.
However, it was not all plain sailing. The impact of long periods of off-campus learning due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 meant that many VCE Product Design and Technology students were unable to complete their projects last year. But despite assessment being finalised before his bicycle was finished, Luca was still determined the complete the machine. He returned to the School in early 2021 to do that.
“I think Luca demonstrated an extraordinary level of perseverance,” says Ms Claire Garnham, Head of Design and Technology and Luca’s teacher for this subject. “It was always going to be a challenge, but Luca’s research techniques were so deep from the start, we were determined to support him to achieve his goal.”
Luca drew upon the expertise within the School during the project, but also extended his reach to others in the design and cycling community.
“I went back to the people I’d met earlier at the bike show and also tapped into some American people who had experience building bicycles,” says Luca. “People were so willing to help. They gave me good advice about problems other people had had when building bikes, and how to prevent them.”
“This is a perfect case study showcasing the importance of skills, not scores,” says Claire. “Luca was determined from the start that he was going to build a high-quality machine and, despite the interruptions, he did just that.”