Chartiers Valley students on cutting edge in applied engineering
Safety glasses in place, Chartiers Valley sophomore Jarrod Cunningham flips a switch and sparks start to fly.
A stream of electricity and compressed air liquefy the metal on contact. The thin stream cuts a computer-aided design into the sheet metal from above.
The students in Andrew Poppelreiter's applied engineering class use the plasma cutter – the compressed air becomes plasma when the electricity comes through it — to bring to life designs that would otherwise remain just that — a design.
“They get to see not just how it could be done, but to actually make it happen,” said Poppelreiter. “They get to make something professional, not just cut something and hope it's straight in the end.”
The district purchased the plasma cutter in November through a $15,000 grant from the state.
Cunningham, a student in the applied engineering class, said the difference between designing a project and actually having a finished project is wide.
“It's obviously fun to watch (the plasma cutter),” he said. “But when the finished piece comes out and you get to hold it — there are so many possibilities.”
Projects created by students so far include a fishing pole rack, a music-theme guitar rack and an outdoor fire pit.
Poppelreiter said he hopes to turn the class into a business — create and cut designs for local residents, using the money earned to pay for supplies.
In the meantime, Poppelreiter said, the hands-on nature of the class allows students to gain not just knowledge, but experience.
“It's important because the kids to get do something from start to finish, and that makes it mean a lot more,” he said. “They're not just guessing that they could be good at this, they're seeing it.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Guza to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- South Fayette coach looks to bring Insanity to residents
- Seat tags in Carnegie’s music hall tell many stories
- Bridgeville historical society set to undergo repairs
- Community shows support for Cecil family
- Bethany Presbyterian Church to celebrate 200 years in Bridgeville area
- Carnegie reflects on 10th anniversary of notorious rainy day
- Carnegie business district comes back
- Steps taken to prevent another devastating flood of Chartiers Creek
- Local business community continues to grow and change