WEEDVILLE — A Weedville man with a passion for metalworking and teaching what he loves recently built a shop to house his plasma cutting business.

Ben Schneider, who is a metalworks and precision machining teacher at St. Marys Area High School, started his plasma cutting business in his friend’s basement, he said.

Schneider also recently built a shop for his “Imagine Plasma Cut Art LLC” business right next to his Weedville home. His products are also on display at the “Jeeppinn” on River Road and Chicken Hill Distillery.

“I have been dreaming about a shop like this since I was 7 years old,” Schneider said.

Using a CNC (computer numerical control) plasma cutter and his “imagination” and creativity, Schneider creates customized signs for businesses, fire pits and enclosures, monograms and more, he says, designing 95 percent of it himself.

Schneider has been making things his whole life, he says. Some of metal items have American flag or elk-themed designs. He expanded into sheet work once he became a teacher in 2012, he said.

Schneider, a St. Marys native, was a tool and dye maker for much of his life. He now makes signs for former students, such as the sign at “Dream Float,” a St. Marys flotation therapy business owned by Zak Breniman.

He recently created the new light-up sign for The Pour House Bar and Grill on South Michael Road, and custom tap handles at the new Straub Brewery Visitor Center and Tap Room.

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It’s a rewarding sight to see people take photos in front of signs he created, Schneider said.

He also has a “drawing room” in his new shop, where he takes his time creating designs.

He enjoys passing on his passion for metal working onto his students, Schneider says, and seeing them make gifts for people or be proud of something they made with their hands.

“It gives them a sense of pride to know they can make something that looks professional,” he said. “I show them stuff that I make, too, to keep their imagination going.”

Schneider’s metal products will be on display at the annual Jeep Ride, benefiting the “Grieving After Suicide Support Group” Saturday, July 27 in Elk County.

For more information on IPCA, visit the Facebook page, email imagineplasma@gmail.com or call 814-389-2797.

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