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Students “elated” with State-of-the-art Technology

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Students within the Academy’s School of Jewelry and Metal Arts can now bring their wearable art to life; they can create entire works using the laser cutters. Photo by Bob Toy.

Two state-of-the-art Epilog Fusion laser cutters are the newest additions to Academy of Art University’s Schools of Industrial Design and Jewelry and Metal Arts. Now students can expertly design and create laser engraved hard models, to show off both in class and in their portfolios.

These laser cutters have one of the highest engraving and cutting speeds available, motion control design and permanently aligned air-cooled CO2 laser tubes. Add to that a file storage system of up to 128 MB and Epilog’s Air Assist technology that removes heat and combustible gases by applying a steady stream of compressed air across the material’s surface during the cutting process.

“These two new Epilog Fusion lasers are larger and more powerful than any laser we’ve owned before,” said Andrew Putman, Academy instructor and CNC Lab Lead. “The efficiency, build quality and engraving resolutions are absolutely exceptional.”

The industrial design students are using the new laser cutters to add details like intricate logos to their models of motor vehicles and Internet-capable smart products, the new machines enabling them to tune their technical skills even more precisely. Students within the Academy’s School of Jewelry and Metal Arts can now bring their wearable art to life; they can create entire works using the laser cutters.

 

“The JEM department’s usage is novel in the sense that their lasered parts are the artifact,” Putman said of the jewelry and metal arts students’ designs. “They’re creating a product entirely based on this method of fabrication.”

With a quick plug in and play set-up process, the laser cutters were ready to be taken advantage of by students towards the end of the Fall 2014 semester. The new machines are so efficient; the production time for students was cut in half at the least. According to Putman, the reaction from students using the cutters was “absolute elation!”

“On day one of their implementation,” he said, “I assisted the students in running nearly 175 jobs. Amazing!”

 

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With a quick plug in and play set-up process, the laser cutters were ready to be taken advantage of by students towards the end of the Fall 2014 semester. Photo by Bob Toy.

Part of what makes the new laser cutters so efficient is the trademarked Laser Dashboard, which allows students to select from a range of software packages, including everything from design programs to spreadsheet applications. The machines also have a signature Red Dot Pointer, which indicates where the laser will fire since the laser beam itself is invisible.

The cutters also have a Relocatable Home feature for creating works that aren’t easily placed at the laser’s top corner. Students can set a new home position by hand using the Laser Dashboard so that complications are minimized during construction. Weighing in at over 500 lbs, the machines contain a belt of Kevlar along the x-axis and a steel cord belt along the y-axis, the combination of which creates a grounded and polished load-bearing system.

“Epilog lasers are about as industry-level tools as they come. However, they’re just that—tools,” Putman said. “If we’re able to equip students with a cutting edge skill-set and the ability to apply it to cutting edge tools, for what more could we ask?”