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Eau Claire, WI – A group of high school students stood wide-eyed in amazement as a Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) student dropped a metal ball through a simple copper tube, with the ball seeming to defy gravity. It fell slowly through the tube as if moving in molasses, never touching the sides.
The demonstration of electromagnetic forces took place in the Nano Engineering Technology area of CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center last March, at the annual Manufacturing Show, which returns for a third year Thursday, March 6, from 3-7 p.m. at the 2320 Alpine Road, Eau Claire, facility.
That simple ball-and-tube trick will have to take a distant back seat to other amazing demonstrations this year:
CVTC now has equipment that uses streams of water under extremely high pressure to cut metal in precise detail, without the harmful effects heat-based metal cutting can leave behind. And if that causes eyebrows to raise, then causing jaws to drop in amazement will be a three-dimensional printer that doesn’t use ink. Instead, layer after layer, at high speed, it produces a 3-D plastic model of something drawn up with paper and numbers.
“It gives us an ability to replicate a concept or design, showing the working parts,” said CVTC Associate Dean of Manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. “The printers are being used a lot in the medical field.”
New Machine Tool program equipment that will be on display is capable of speeds up to 12,000 rpm. “The purpose of the high speed is higher accuracy and tighter tolerances,” Sullivan said.