Located in the basement of the U.A. Whitaker building, adjacent to the back stairs, the biomedical engineering machine shop is available for use by any current student or faculty of Georgia Institute of Technology. Besides the design instructors, Marty Jacobson and Raja Schaar, there is often an undergraduate shop hand present in the shop. They can assist with the use of the machines and tools in the shop and also teach their proper and safe use.
The machine shop is equipped with a ProtoTrak mill, a lathe, a drill press, a Haas 3-axis CNC mill, MakerBot 3D printers, and assorted hand tools. Whether or not you have machining experience, regularly scheduled training sessions are available for you to learn how to use all of the equipment in the shop; the design instructors and the undergraduate shop hands offer these training sessions. After demonstrating proficiency with all of the machines and tools in the shop, students may be granted after-hours card access to the shop. Shop training and after-hours access is also an especially valuable asset for a team that is working to complete prototypes for biomedical engineering courses.
Regardless of your aspirations beyond Georgia Tech, machining and manufacturing experience is a valuable complement to the biomedical engineering curriculum. Although some manufacturing concepts are taught in Problems in Biomedical Engineering II (BMED 2300) and in Capstone Design (BMED 4602), there are no substitutes for first-hand manufacturing experience; understanding the capabilities of the resources in the shop brings about improved design decisions for a working prototype.
Many research labs around campus value machining experience as well. Quite a few research projects require machining expertise to operate the specialized setups or equipment. Acquiring the machining skills taught in the biomedical engineering machine shop can make you a more desirable candidate for a lab position.
Although the machine shop is frequently used for manufacturing BMED 2300 or BMED 4602 teams’ prototypes, the shop may be used for personal projects as well. For instance, during my time working as a shop hand last semester, I designed and machined a Turner’s Cube (pictured here) and several model rocket parts for my roommate.
In addition to the machine shop in the biomedical engineering building, the Invention Studio, located in the Manufacturing Related Disciplines Complex (MRDC), maintains a variety of additional equipment including a water jet, laser cutters, and 3D printers. Machining experience is a valuable skill that can be applied in academic courses as well as in industry. For more information about the BME machine shop, stop by. The machine shop is generally open from 9 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening during normal school days.