Capabilities and equipment for student use


2-axis CNC Mill

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and designates that a machine is capable of being controlled by a computer to perform a machining task. The use of a computer to simultaneously control two axes allows the mill to be used to make complicated shapes that were previously impossible. Round shapes such as flanges for vacuum and cryogenic systems can be machined with a 2-axis CNC mill without the use of a lathe or rotary table.


Computer Aided Design

The use of 3D CAD programs such as SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor has become standard in scientific and industrial design and fabrication. We provide guidance for students in the design phase of their projects so that they can produce well-planned and effective designs for fabrication by themselves or others.


Milling machines

In addition to the CNC mill, we also have two milling machines that are equipped with digital readout of the x- and y- position of the table and cutting tool height (z) to 0.001 inch. The use of digital readouts avoids the issues of backlash (hysteresis) in old-fashioned dial readouts and can be zeroed by the user in any place to reduce the likelihood of making a mistake due to something mundane like an arithmetic error.

 

Lathe

For fabricating parts with cylindrical symmetry, the lathe has traditionally been the tool of choice. The safe operation of a lathe is a tricky business, so students are instructed one-on-one in the proper use of a lathe and taught how to turn down, face off, thread, and debur their parts on the two lathes in the student shop. One of the machines is equipped with a digital readout for high precision machining.


Sheet metal

The student shop is equipped with a sheet metal bender and resistance spot welder. The construction of panels and boxes often involves working with sheet metal, and we are working to increase our sheet metal working capabilities.


Saws, sanders, grinders, etc.

We also have a typical assortment of the machines and tools required to produce a finished product and to cut stock, such as a band saw, drill press, disc sander, grinding wheel, vise, files, and numerous others.