Edinburgh College of Art

Since their Swift-Cut 2500 water table was installed in September 2016, the technical services department says it has barely had a day off.  Being, if you like, the engine room of all the various departments including metal design, engineering, art, sculpture and architecture, the Swift-cut table is in high demand and rarely sits idle.

Speaking with Malcolm Hosie, metalworking technician at Edinburgh College of Art, it’s clear that he is passionate about the capabilities and possibilities the table has given the students.  Whilst he is always on hand to help with the machine, he explained that the abilities of the students vary depending on what discipline they study and often they can work the table independently.  The design students have an excellent knowledge of CAD programming so they are confident and more able to navigate their way around the software as opposed to say, the fine art students, who need much more assistance and guidance to help create their sculptures or designs.

Their previous table, which the Swift-Cut replaced, was simply not able to cope with the demands of the students.  Whilst the table would have a slightly easier start to the term, Malcolm explained that towards the end of each semester the table goes into over drive with all the students needing to finish projects and coursework. The old table was in constant use, Malcolm described it as almost manufacturing volumes, and neither their table nor their software could cope.  When Malcolm got the approval and funding for a new CNC table, as per college protocol, he did thorough research and sought tenders.  However, when he and another colleague (who is highly experienced in 3D printing and metal cutting) visited the Swift-Cut demo suite and met with one of the engineers, they knew they had found the right table for their university and with its affordable price tag, it came well within their budget.

The installation was easy and Malcolm was impressed that it was the same engineer who they met with at the demo that came to install the table. The days training was excellent, he had the feeling that because they are well versed in CAD they had a slight advantage but fully admits that even without prior knowledge, the days training is so comprehensive and thorough that he would have felt confident regardless.  A few minor teething problems were soon put to right with phone calls to their engineer and Malcolm said they were navigational issues as opposed to technical faults.

As far as extras are concerned, they opted for the engraving tool Swift Mark, which is incredibly popular with the architecture students who do a lot of model making and like to add the finer detail.  What has also been hugely successful is the water table option, which has solved all the extraction problems of their previous table.

Asked if he’d upgrade, recommend or buy another one, the answer was very much yes, yes and yes.  Malcolm feels that with the amount of usage the table gets he’d easily justify purchasing another table if he ever got the universities approval, he’d just need to find the space for it…

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