A New Plasma Cutter for the Regis Center for Art
Term Assistant Professor Tamsie Ringler has been awarded a $20,000 Academic Innovation Grant to purchase a CNC Plasma Cutter for the Regis Center for Art, which will be available for use in Sculpture courses, by undergraduates, grad students and faculty.
The addition of a CNC plasma cutter will lead to many more opportunities for students to work in the welding studio, creating high-precision, beautiful and intricate designs in metal.
Currently, students have a traditional hand-controlled plasma cutter available to them for use in the metal fabrication studio, but much more precise and consistent work can be achieved with a digitally-controlled process.
One issue specific to plasma cutting is that due to the high levels of UV light exposure given off by the equipment when in use, the user has to wear a very dark safety lens to protect their eyes. This translates into the user not being able to see clearly what they are cutting, and having difficulty in following a pattern or line drawn on the surface of the material being cut. Often the results are imprecise, even messy, and the students are often dissatisfied with the results and discouraged. Often, these types of unrewarding results lead to students not pursuing further projects using metalworking processes and for graduate students, the inability to use standard and reliable digital processes for sculpture research and fabrication.
The introduction of a CNC plasma cutter to the digital studio in the Department of Art will create the opportunity for students to develop relevant skills for working in contemporary metal working processes, while augmenting the fabrication of their work though the introduction of a refined and programmable system for cutting steel. The addition of a CNC plasma cutter will bring the technology and equipment available to graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Art into alignment with similar institutions.