About the labs
Over the past several years we have had more than 1000 student users of our facilities per year with well over 4000 instances of use in the facilities each seven week academic term. In this time students have made thousands of parts, some of them quite simple and others consisting of assemblies with up to seventy moving parts. Every year between two and three hundred of WPI's MQPs use the facilities in some way in the completion of their projects. In addition to assisting with and facilitating MQPs, hundreds of graduate research projects have utilized our facilities in some way. We have facilities in four rooms and two buildings and a staff of two Lab Machinists and one Operations Manager.
The mission of the labs is to:
- Support the mission of WPI, by creating, discovering, and conveying knowledge at the frontiers of inquiry in manufacturing and education, as well as linking that new knowledge to applications, and
- To empower students to realize their own designs as quickly as possible by helping them to achieve self sufficiency in the use of manufacturing tools and technologies, so they can conceive, design, and create their own parts for their projects.
The vision of the labs is to:
- Be the premier laboratory for manufacturing engineering education and research (applied and fundamental) in the world.
We've been able to fulfill our mission and vision and to help thousands of WPI students in the past several years by empowering students.
We've developed an access system that allows the labs to be available for student use 24 hours per day 364 days per year by establishing several levels of users ranging from "Lab Monitors", who are authorized to open the labs and supervise other authorized student users, to Basic Users, who are only authorized to work in the labs if a staff member s present.
In addition to allowing access to the facilities we've created tutorials that allow students to train each other in the correct use of the facilities. Two students for example with no previous experience using a CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machine tool can alternate in the role of student and instructor by reading the tutorial instructions to each other. The individual exercises build on each other and after about 10 or 12 hours of these exercises the students can make a part they designed with no staff interaction.
Our labs in the news:
- We want to hear back from you what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong or any improvements that we can make
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