The Olympia High School Agricultural department has acquired a new piece of equipment to use with its courses and FFA; the computer numerical control (CNC) Plasma Cutter will be used by students to precisely cut metal for their projects.
The Olympia FFA alumni were the ones who have bought the whopping $32,000 CNC machine. The Olympia FFA will be paying the alumni back over a period of time with the profits they make from selling products manufactured by the new machine.
The plans for the CNC include students using the machine to create actual products, like metal signs. “I plan for every Ag class to learn how to use it, especially my Ag Business class. I want them to be able to run their own fabrication business,” said Olympia Ag Teacher Mr. Bryce Hoffman.
The CNC Plasma Cutter was purchased to improve and upgrade the metal shop. Mr. Hoffman said, “Within the last couple years we have been upgrading our welding stations, so I thought it was the next logical step in making our metal shop better”.
The CNC controller works together with a series of motors and drive components to move and control the machine axes, executing the programmed motions. By taking digitized data, a computer and CAM program is used to control, automate, and monitor the movements of the CNC machine.
In class, students will be designing different designs for either themselves to use however they would like or design things that they think the FFA could sell for a profit. Mr. Hoffman plans to have a couple start up projects for the kids to get to know how the machine and the programming works and then the students will be able to design and cut out whatever they would like.
Sophomore Lane Schweigert said, “I can't wait to get it up and running and making some cool signs that I get to design myself.”
Senior Lane Miller is pretty skilled with how CNC programming works. He has his own CNC which he uses for his woodworking business. “I am looking forward to being able to design and cut out things using a metal CNC opposed to a wood CNC,” he said.