Usage of PlasmaCAM steel and teachers needed


The official policy on 1/8" steel near the PlasmaCAM, as I understand it, is something like “for use in classes, maintenance and other official purposes.” I have taken that overly literal but would like to clarify that and add another condition. I have conducted 21 classes in the last year. @jast has also carried a heavy load for a longer time but has recently had to temporarily pull back due to job commitments. As far as I know only a couple of classes have been conducted by others this year. The tool is fascinating and a popular course to take. I always mention in classes that it is easy to become a teacher and give details. I have had six people interested enough to attend a second class but none have followed up. I’m currently working with another two. Hopefully they will start running classes. We need to make it easier to practice.

My new position on usage of the steel is that teachers and those preparing to teach can use the steel to practice cutting key rings or checking configuration settings. Cost is trivial and it may help attract teachers.

Proposal: But what about others that might want to practice using the tool or show a friend how it works without hauling in heavy materials for a trivial demo? I propose that anyone approved to use the tool be allowed to cut DMS key rings and pay $2.00 each or three for $5.00.

Why do I only suggest allowing the DMS key ring to be cut? It has been the traditional pattern for use in the class and uses only five sq in of steel. Everyone who has been through the class is familiar with the process of positioning the torch to make the most efficient use of the materials. Most testing can be done on this little pattern. If you want something else, just bring your own materials.



I’ll get another class scheduled for this month and possibly one for next month. I haven’t instructed in quite some time.


I was considering teaching classes on it, but honestly, I’ve been holding off to even take the class on it until the “new” one happens.

No sense in learning to use one that is on it’s way out of the door as it were.


The good news is they all have the same general principals.

Well except for the multicam branded one :wink:


If you are interested, this is a great time to jump in. I would hope that teachers would receive the first class on the new equipment by @TBJK or whoever. We will then be buried with requests for classes.


I don’t have an issue with that. Never have. If we could have half the success that @uglyknees had recruiting teachers/ instructors, it would be worth it.


I have never met @uglyknees but look forward to it. Nichole - Drop me a PM and I will slip you into my next class. You will then be our certifiable PlasmaCAM Recruiter. Attend another class or one of my review sessions and you will be a PlasmaCAM Teacher!


Given the budget constraints during expansion, I think you’ll be waiting a while. Might be as good of a time as any to learn the current one.


Money is already allocated for the new plasma cutter. Metal Shop has had the ability to buy it for 2 months now, why would expansion cut that back?


because Tim said it might be.

That strikes me as snarky in re-reading. I didn’t mean for it to be.

I believe Tim said that because there was much ado in regard to allocated funds possibly being pulled back from the committees to assist in funding expansion/build out. Then we watched $7k get pulled from Hatchers that had been ‘allocated’, so it kinds of makes one think ‘we could be next’. I’m not saying they’re comparable, but observations of bystanders are what they are.


The funds being pulled back was a specific circumstance. The ATF visit made it quite clear Hatcher’s would not be able to do anything in regards to resolution with the Fire Marshall.

Spending $7k to get the list of required hoops to jump through to make the Fire Marshall happy when the ATF told us we can in no way be considered an extension of a home and all the rights for a home gunsmith. Seems like a bad reason to spend $7k so we pulled that funding.

If you or anyone else can justify that $7k expenditure, this BOD is open to that conversation. Next BOD meeting is Monday June 18th. Please submit a proposal.

It is disingenuous to suggest it was not without reason or that it might randomly happen with other committees.


Well that would be something new to take on! I had no magic except for letting people know they should share what they were passionate about…and buying them stuff so they could do that…and everyone wanted to see a passion grow.


Ahh the continued waiting. I was happy to see the allocation last week. I’m willing to bet it won’t be until Metal Shop is expanding before we put the table in service. Memory serves me right it has/had a 5 week lead time.

Do we need more material for the classes? I donated the last sheet in April or May of last year.


I’ve taught a ton of Laser Basics classes, and have taken the PlasmaCAM class. I have the time and motivation to teach a PlasmaCAM class, but not the experience. With the laser cutters, I sat in on some classes while other taught them to observe, and of course did some practicing on my own. Will that work? Who should I talk to about this?


I would be interested in becoming an instructor for the PlasmaCam. Seems like a good enough tool to start teaching on.
Please let me know.


I am new to the space, and have a few projects that I want to tackle using the plasma cutter. I was looking for a class, but missed the last one. once I have the knowledge about the cutter, I would love to teach. you learn so much by teaching others.

The Doc.

(Looks like I need to learn how to post comments here, was trying to continue main thread.)


would be your Points of Contact. Brady’s got classes coming up, I believe, and Zach says above he’ll post some soon. Regrettably, my time is monopolized elsewhere presently. Any of us (generally) are happy to have sit-ins for refresher (seating availability can be rough sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t welcome).

So, if you want a refresher, just let us know as a courtesy. If you want to teach, just let us know. Any of us (plus @tbjk as far as I know) will wingman your first class if you let us know and we’re able.

Yes, you do. Students find the most inventive ways to screw stuff up!

We’re letting you know.
I won’t speak (too much) for the others, but I will not hunt you down and try to force you to teach.

  • You let me know you’d like to sit in as a refresher or with an eye toward teaching, and I’ll do my best to help you down that path.
  • You let me know you’d like to assist in a class to help ready yourself, I’ll do my best to help you down that path.
  • You let me know you’d like a knowledgeable, friendly face for your class (any class, but especially your first), and I’ll do my best to help.

In short, you let us know, and we’ll do our best to help you get some practice and/or classes under your belt.

I know it’s been stated before, but I’ll say it again: several instructors willing to teach a class every other month in rotation would lead to more regular classes and less teacher burnout. Brady’s been a real trooper of late, carrying the load on his own. Let’s help him out!


If someone will reach out and train me, I’d be happy to teach (would be a nice break from teaching wood lathe :).

I haven’t ever been able to sign up for class, but I own the miller spectrum plasma cutter, am an experienced welder, experienced cad/cam software, certified on the lasers and Multicam…I’m also experienced enough to ask when I don’t know something :slight_smile:


WOW!!! I am totally blown away by the many offers above. I look forward to seeing you in class. If you are not certified on the tool, you will need to register and attend a class. If you are certified and wish to sit in, you must contact the teacher for permission. Classes are generally limited to six. I will let one or two sit in for review or prepare to teach.

@jast, @zmetzing, @TBJK and I have all commented that we enjoy teaching this class but you should know that I consider this to be a challenging class to teach. The wiki and pdf have a huge amount of information even as I skip material that is better covered in the shop. There is often noise from other areas of the shop as I explain the configuration or talk people through the necessary steps. Its necessary to balance you time between spending enough time on each step and keeping things moving along. During much of the shop time there are four to six people standing around with nothing to do so I like to push as much as is reasonable. But it is very rewarding to see the excitement when parts are cut and when I individually congratulate each person at the end of class.

@TBJK - I would say we have steel for a number of months. Thank you for your generous donation.

@zmetzing - Welcome back and count me in to audit your next class! We can always learn from others.


The large response from potential teachers in this string and PM has been great but has caused me some concern that we may have too many classes coming on line too close together. My latest class hit the event calendar around 5PM yesterday and had four of seats filled within 12 hours. The class is for Friday the 22nd which is not a good time to attract people. The conclusion is that there is a very large pent up demand.

Thanks for your interest and support!