Welcome to The Shop

If you’ve wandered around the first floor of the AC lately, you may have noticed some changes to the rooms closest to the parking lot. What we once called the machine shop is now, formally, The Shop. This summer, a group of six students and three and a half faculty undertook the task of renovating the space achieve three things: making the The Shop inviting to everyone in our community, making Shop/class integration more accessible and fluid, and changing the space to more accurately reflect our culture of Stewardship. We made a lot of changes that we’re really excited about, and we’d like to share them with you.
First and foremost, we thought about how we want people to interact with The Shop. And this wasn’t us making a bunch of decisions about how we think you should act; we took the exemplary practices that we see students acting by everyday and simply put them in writing. The document can be found here. Go check it out. Nothing in there should be too shocking, but it’s a living document. If something feels wrong, come by The Shop so we can understand why.
Most people know about (or at least have heard of) the Stock Market, our supply of machinable stock for various academic projects. This stock is also available for clubs, passionate pursuits, and other non-personal projects that would benefit from access to the material. Just be honest when filling out the form and try not to take a lot of stock when you can go out and buy it yourself. The Scrap Rack got an upgrade in the form of better organization and guidelines for what to donate and what to throw away. Finally, we made additional guidelines for the Hardware Cabinet, something that very few people on campus previously knew about. The cabinet has standard sizes of lots of hardware: nuts/bolts/washers, screws, dowels, etc. We also have tape, super glue, caliper batteries, and miscellaneous hardware. As with the Stock Market, if you need 100 bolts for a project, you should buy them yourself. Be aware that this is a community resource that The Shop maintains and stocks as it sees fit.
The Mini Shop is no more! AC 109, affectionately nicknamed BOB over the summer, is now The Workshop. It isn’t a smaller version of the main shop; it is an independent space with its own unique functionality. The Bridgeport and lathe were sold, most of the sheet metal tools were brought in, and we acquired a Roland 4-axis CNC (thank you Lawrence). The walls were painted and the floor was newly waxed, and the space has a renewed purpose. We are excited to introduce this revamped work space, with different tools and capabilities, to the community.
If you step in The Workshop and look to your left, you’ll see the beginnings of a tool wall. The tool wall is highly visible so that anyone can see at a glance what tools there are and what’s missing. While these tools are completely capable of leaving the space, especially since everyone has after hours access, they are taped in neon orange for a reason. Make sure that if something leaves The Workshop, it finds its way back as soon as you’re done using it.
AC 104 (the welding/plasma/waterjet room) also saw a lot of space changes: we painted the walls in fresh white, grey, and a little bit of green; the ducting is now red; the welding curtains are fixed to the ceiling but still allow for plenty of space customization if, for example, an entire chassis needs to be brought into The Shop. Many of our larger tools and surfaces were put on casters (e.g. the vice table, the cold saws). And if you look up, you’ll notice that the electrical stalactites are no more, and in their place are retractable extension cables.
The MechE Stockroom is no more! What was once essentially a project graveyard was completely cleaned out over the summer and coming soon, will be an advanced woodworking space. The wood lathe and chop saw will live there, along with a table saw, router table, and lots of new hand tools. Stay tuned for how to get trained once we get the space up and running.
We are now displaying Green Machine training pieces. Anyone who gets trained this academic year will have their piece (with their name) displayed in The Shop. Even if you don’t really use The Shop all that much, you are still a part of The Shop community, and the display is a reminder that you have just as much right and access to The Shop as anyone else. We also have a kiosk with easy access to training sign up sheets complete with reading and quizzes, and a cubby system for storing safety goggles (a bit neater than the old bins, no?)
Already several training documents have been completely re-worked, making getting trained easier than ever. For example, mill and lathe training have been completely revamped to make those machines more accessible by not requiring a full work day to learn how to operate. More trainings will become available throughout the semester, so keep checking the training sign up sheet.
Stop by The Shop and come see the changes for yourself. Get trained on a machine that you’ve always been curious about. We’re excited to see what our community does with these news spaces.

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