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November 19, 2019

kayla breese/River News

Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk students participated in the sixth annual Heavy Metal Tour Wednesday at Nicolet Area Technical College in Rhinelander and several local manufacturing facilities.
kayla breese/River News

Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk students participated in the sixth annual Heavy Metal Tour Wednesday at Nicolet Area Technical College in Rhinelander and several local manufacturing facilities.
10/7/2017 7:29:00 AM
Students learn about manufacturing jobs during Heavy Metal Tour

Kayla Thomason
Feature Writer

Students from across the Northwoods toured Nicolet Area Technical College, and many local manufacturing businesses, Wednesday during the sixth annual Heavy Metal Tour.

During the industrial mechanic tour portion at Nicolet, students operated a robotic arm that aimed an air cannon, interacted with a Tesla tower, and watched sound waves with fire using a Rubens tube.

Rob Dumovich, industrial mechanical technician instructor at Nicolet, ran the Rubens tube.

It's a metal tube running horizontal with holes across the top, one end is sealed and the other has a speaker plugged into a laptop.

"First I demonstrate what the waves look like coming out of a wall outlet on an oscilloscope and explain the frequency that's produced in the outlet - 60 hertz - and then we show them basically the frequency of different songs via the fire," he explained.

Dumovich said he is always excited for the Heavy Metal Tour and hopes it generates interest in different careers.

"It's great, I look forward to this tour every year," he said. "It stimulates interest in the manufacturing field."

Steven Boogren, electromechanical technology instructor at Nicolet, ran the robot cannon section of the tour.

"That (the robot air cannon) was designed for them to learn slight operation of robots and also pressure to launch a ball halfway across the room into a basket," he explained, adding that that the Tesla tower showed transformer theory and capacitance in more-or-less static electricity.

Boogren said he knows the Heavy Metal Tour is packed with information and hopes it stimulates the students to consider alternative career paths.

"They're going to learn troubleshooting within electronics and the whole electrical community and there's a real shortage of people that know anything about electrical systems within our workforce," he said.

Not only does this tour benefit the middle school students, it's also a positive learning experience for the college students, he added.

"As far as my students go, they're going to learn more about how to speak with other folks, work better as a team and also parlay information over to another person," Boogren said.

Kayla Mathison, a student at James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander, was fascinated by the Rubens tube and Tesla Tower.

"I really liked the music one," she said. Mathison said she feels the tour is important for her and other students, as it opens their eyes to more possibilities.

"I think it's pretty important because it's different and they get to see what the different fields are in the science area," she added

Paul Oppman, technology education teacher at JWMS, thought the tour was a good experience for his students.

"Great opportunity for kids to see what's out there for jobs and experience some of the technology, especially that Nicolet has to offer and local businesses," he said.

He has noticed a change in students' focus on subject matter from before the Heavy Metal Tour and after, he said.

"They have a lot more interest in the electronics and the welding, welding is huge, they love the welding part," Oppman said.

There were 596 middle school students that participated in the tour from schools in Mercer, North Lakeland, Woodland, Crandon, Laona, Nativity, Elcho, Phelps, AVW, JWMS, LDF, MHLT, NPMS, Three Lakes, Tomahawk and Wabeno.

The businesses that talked with the students during the tour included Advanced Barrier Extrusions, Daigle Brothers, Nicolet College, Nimsgern Steel Corp., Northstar Steel, Ponsse, Printpack, Samuel Pressure Vessel Group, and Superior Diesel.

Kayla Breese may be reached at

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