The CECS Machine Shop is located in the same building as the 5 departments that come under the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The previous machine and wood shops, have been combined and remodeled as a larger Machine Shop was needed due to the increase in student usage.
Students who have successfully completed the workshop (described below), have access to the Machine Shop during certain hours. Others who do not have access and need any work done can come and make the request to the staff machinists.
Lathes, mills, band saws and other manual machinery. 3D Router, sheet metal equipment. Paint booth. The following items are planned for the near future: 3D printers, CNC mill and lathe, laser cutter.
There is no cost to use the equipment in the Shop. The material costs depends on the project the students are working on. If it is a senior design project, each project has funds allocated for material purchase. There is no charge for the 2 machinists to work on student projects, as long as it is class related.
There are 2 staff machinist, and a couple of student assistants to cover the hours that the machinists are not available. The Shop is open Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m. to 9.30 p.m., and Sat.- Sun. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Shop is manned at all times it is officially open. The Shop comes under the Manager of Technical Services.
A hands-on machining workshop is conducted that students. The workshop consists of 3 8-hour sessions, where the students make a C-clamp. The machinist demonstrates each of the steps, and the students follow. This exposes the student to each of the manual machines in the Shop, and each student has to make his/her own C-clamp. All the safely rules are followed, and only after the student successfully completes the training that they are allowed access to the Shop. A shorter training of about 3 hours is held for students who want to use the 3D Router that we have in the space. This is heavily utilized by projects that require a foam mold to be made.
At the moment, only the 3-day Hands-On Machining Workshop and the 3-hour 3D Router workshop is held for students to be able to use the manual machines and the 3D Router. The manual machines are heavily used during times that there is no workshop being held. Due to safety concerns only a limited amount of students are allowed in at a time.
In the past the students use a CAD type program to design the parts and the staff machinist makes the part for them. After the workshop, the students are able to create their own parts, with the machinist overseeing the work. The workshop also makes the student a better engineer for the future as they now realize the limitation of the machines that manufacture the parts they design. Even though each of the students in the workshop work from the same blueprint of the C-Clamp, the end product is not the same. Each puts his/her own design twist while machining.
The original machine shop was in a space that was 1,200 sq. ft, and mainly the staff machinist used to use the equipment. In the first year of the hands-on machining workshop 80 students were trained to use the manual machines, and during the latter part of the school year, the shop was heavily utilized by the students working on their senior design. Due to space and safety concerns, a remodel of the space was undertaken. The work was started during the Summer of 2014, and has just been completed. The new space is now 3,200 sq. ft. which allows us to have more machines, including 3D printers, CNC machines, etc.
When one plans a maker space, one needs to not only think of the equipment and space needs, but also critical are the personnel to man the space, and all the needed training and safety needs have to be considered. This part is always overlooked or underestimated.