Machine Shops, Part 1 by Laura N. '09
Yay, power tools! A look at places to find them around campus.
In response to a request from a current applicant, I’m proud to present to you a virtual tour of some of MIT’s machine shops. As you can imagine, especially considering that our official motto is Latin for “Mind and Hand,” MIT is very big on hands-on projects. To facilitate this, there is a wide variety of places around campus where you can get your hands on some power tools- of the large variety.
One of the principle machine shops on campus is Pappalardo Lab. This is the lab space used by Course 2 students (Course 2 is Mechanical Engineering, for those of you keeping track at home).
Pappalardo is home to a wide range of Course 2 resources. The primary component is the shop area- but nearby are also several conference rooms for group design meetings as well as a couple of labs for classes like 2.004 and 2.14 (controls) and 2.671 (experimentation). Luckily for you, I’ve been taking photos for my lab reports in 2.671.
This was the setup for a lab where we analyzed the gas velocity profile of laminar flow of nitrogen in a long tube. Notice all the wires. Each lab station has several power supplies, handheld multimeters, a function generator, and an oscilloscope. In other words, there’s a high concentration of toys per lab bench.
This is the setup for an experiment where we measured the speed of sound in various gases.
This is Adelaide ’09 (my lab partner AND next door neighbor- how convenient!) thinking hard about the output of our sensors shown on the oscilloscope.
That’s fun and everything, but the real fun part of Pappalardo is the machine shop. Every Course 2 student gets to know Pappalardo very well over the years- they typically take 2.670 (a class where you build a Sterling engine) IAP of sophomore year, 2.007 in the spring of sophomore year, and 2.009 in the fall of senior year. (If you’d like to see more about 2.007, all students who take the class are required to create a website about it- you can check out mine here.)
So, after all of that intro, are you ready for the pictures? Pappalardo has…
An entire row of lathes. (Lathes are machines that can be used to create cylindrical parts, for example a pin that needs a groove or a rod that needs a varying diameter.)
Even more milling machines. (A milling machine has a bit called an end mill which is controlled by 3 axes. You can do lots of cool things on a milling machine- from drilling a hole at a precise location to engraving a pattern.)
There are also lots of bandsaws,
and a shower. Not sure exactly why this is here, but it’s probably part of a prototype environment for a 2.009 project.
More 2.009 projects…
And a nice view of all of the available table space.
Another machine shop on campus is the Hobby Shop.
The Hobby Shop requires a membership fee, but it’s the only place (that I know of) on campus with woodworking capabilities. Also, since it’s run by an alum rather than a major academic department and caters to people doing cool stuff for fun rather than official for-credit projects, the Hobby Shop has a more “lived-in” feel than Pappalardo:
The Hobby Shop also has a rather impressive supply of materials:
Otherwise, the Hobby Shop is pretty typical, and has most of what you’d expect, like
…and a waterjet? Don’t get me wrong, waterjets are awesome (they spray sandy water at such high velocities that it can actually cut through steel and create really precise and detailed patters which can be really hard to machine with other methods) but I was surprised to find one in the Hobby Shop. I had been under the impression that the shop was exclusively full of woodworking tools, but apparently not.
A couple of Hobby Shop members work on a table they’re building.
But no matter where you go…
Safety first, of course. =)
The good news is, this isn’t even half of the machine shops on campus. The bad news is, I can only take so many pictures at a time. Consider this a first installment, and stay tuned for the next one, which will feature the Lab for Manufacturing and Productivity, the Course 16 (Areo/Astro) lab space, and the Edgerton Center machine shop.
EDIT: You can read part 2 here: Machine Shops, Part 2.